On the Third Day of Christmas …

On the third day of Christmas, Yahweh gave to us: a Savior.

We use the word savior a lot in ChurchLand, but just what are we being saved from?

The short answer is “ourselves.” I always say that free will is the greatest and most dangerous gift God could give us. God could have created us like a bunch of preprogrammed robots with no choice but to follow God. But God knows that without free will, without the ability to choose, that the relationship between us and God wouldn’t be LOVE.

We took this amazing gift of being able to choose and chose to do things our own way. And when we walked away from God’s presence, we developed this empty space in our souls … and tried to fill it with other stuff.

And none of it works – not money or houses or the stuff filling our houses or sports or hobbies or other relationships. Without God we can never be fully satisfied because only a relationship with our creator can fill that space.

And then we tell ourselves that God can’t love us the way we are and we keep trying to redeem the situation ourselves.

Only God can free us, only Jesus our savior can save us from this broken cycle, from the stress of having to prove ourselves worthy or even just good enough, and the anxiety of perfectionism that we’ve convinced ourselves is necessary for anyone, let alone God, to love us.

Here’s the good news, y’all – God loves as we are and meets us where we are!

Jesus tells the story of a shepherd who leaves 99 of the sheep to find the one who has wandered away. And a story of a woman who loses one of 10 valuable coins and searches diligently until she finds it.

And he follows up this story with one about a son who tells his father he wishes him dead, takes his inheritance and squanders it before realizing what he’s done and returns in despair to beg forgiveness. His father sees him coming and runs to meets him on the road and welcomes him home with open arms.

We are so very precious to God. With all of our faults and brokenness, God says we are the most precious of all creation. And just as we can choose to try and navigate this life on our own, we can also say, without condition, that we were wrong, and accept that the only thing that can save us from ourselves is to Follow Jesus in the way of Love, accepting God’s love for us as beloved children.

On this third day of Christmas, I invite you to make time to ponder what it is to hear God say, “my beloved child, let go of trying to save yourself and let me love you” and together we can reveal God’s love, true salvation, to this mixed up, broken, and hurting world.

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