On the Fourth Day of Christmas …

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, Yahweh gives to us: A Teacher.

On the fourth Day of Christmas, Yahweh gave to us: A Teacher. A wise teacher named Jesus.

Not too long ago, I was in a book study in which we were discussing the spirituality of twelve step programs. For most every point made, I could think of something that Jesus teaches through his ministry and preaching and parables. After several sessions, I made the comment, “y’all know that all of this is from the gospel stories, right?” “Yeah,” a few of them said, “but Jesus’ teachings have become irrelevant.”

And, yet, these good-intentioned, church-going folks were willing to accept the same teachings from any other source but Jesus. No wonder the world has decided Jesus’ teachings are irrelevant if church people are the ones saying it.

When we learn to read the Gospel story through a lens of wisdom rather than as some attempt at a self-help book, the everlasting relevance of Jesus’ teachings shines brightly. Jesus tells us he comes to bring us LIFE and to bring it abundantly! That’s very relevant Good News, y’all. With all that has happened in 2020 we need all the good news about life we can get.

But Jesus doesn’t give us a quick fix to a problem free life, or a multi-step solution for all that troubles us. Jesus comes, God with us, Emanuel, to show us how to live life as God’s beloved children. Jesus offers us a way of life grounded in the love and compassion of God our creator and divine parent.

Jesus teaches us how to love as God loves. Jesus sees every person, every situation through the eyes of compassion. Who better understands our human nature that the very God who created us?

Jesus asks a lot of questions of the people he encounters. What do you want me to do for you? Who do you say that I am? Do you want to be well? And he asks those questions of us. Jesus is all about discovering our real selves, the “self” God created each of us to be. Each of us unique and necessary with skills and talents that come together to form the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus teaches us that Kingdom living is about choosing the greater good over our own individualistic tendencies, choosing compassion over hate, love instead of self-centeredness.

So, on this fourth day of Christmas, I invite you to make the time to ask yourself: what can I learn about God and myself and relationships by the way that Jesus interacted with others? And make a plan of self-discovery from this very wise teacher in the year to come. Together with God, we can bring heaven on earth in whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

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