My constant temptation is to simply check out. Cash it in, retire, unplug, disconnect, disappear into the Smoky Mountains with Melissa and a Bible and have no idea who becomes President in the next election. The troubled state of the world, our unsettled country and divisions within my denomination make me sad. Not mad, just sad. The kind of sad you feel when you take your ball and go home. The unavoidable vitriol and violence encapsulating us 24/7/365 erodes my soul and spirit. I am tired. Gut tired.
And then I remember that I was called by God…drafted if you will. Perhaps I will one day be released but I can’t quit. Not now. Not today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Perhaps what God has invested in me is in some small way needed now…in these troubling times. Perhaps everything God has done in my life has been “for such a time as this.” Perhaps doing ministry right now is the reason for which I was created. Perhaps.
So here I stand. Planted firmly. Refusing to let this world rob me of joy, laughter or the simple pleasures of nature, friends and family. Truly desiring to do no harm, to do all the good I can and stay in love with God. And I will stand tomorrow and the next day. And the day after that. I will boldly stand on the accomplishment of Christ and the hope He brings. He is the only hope we have. He is the only hope we need. He is the only hope I have.
I am so ready for the holidays this year. Thanksgiving is next week but I am especially excited about Christmas. I need Christmas this year. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to Men. Christmas Eve services. Angels. Shepherds. Mary. Joseph. Baby Jesus. Hark the herald! Joy to the World! That kind of stuff! That is exactly what I need!
As we enter the “most wonderful time of the year” don’t forget to say a prayer for healing and peace…and for God to raise up healers and peacemakers. And don’t be so glued to this earth that you neglect to look up. Look up and see the Christmas star blazing in the night sky and angels announcing to our troubled world that Christ is born…born in you and in me!
Peace dear friends and don’t give in to hopelessness, fear and despair. God has this. God has you. You are of value, you matter and you are loved. And most of all, remember that here is hope in Christ. Always has been. Always will be. Hope is the one thing Christmas refuses to allow us to forget…
Come Lord Jesus come.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois