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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
      the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
      and established it on the rivers.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
      And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
      who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
      and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
      and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
      who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates!
      and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
      that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory?
      The Lord, strong and mighty,
      the Lord, mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates!
      and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
      that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
      The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory. (NRSV)


The season has arrived for Santa Claus. From now until Christmas, every shopping center we visit will have its own red-suited, white-bearded, jolly old St. Nick, and we will see lines of young children waiting their turn to sit on this gift-giver’s lap and make their requests.

I wonder sometimes if we confuse this Santa-sitting experience with our pursuit of God. We just simply show up and tell God what we want. God laughs a little, says I will see what I can do, tells us that we are special and loved, and then we hop off God’s lap and go about our day.

Well according to Psalm 24, God is not the Santa Claus at a our local mall. According to Psalm 24, God is the king over all things, the king of glory, and there are requirements to enter into God’s presence. This God wants those who seek him to have clean hands (innocent of guilty works) and a pure heart (good motives).

I wonder if this bothers us a little because we want a God with no relational standards or ethical demands, a God who invites us into his presence so that we can get some things off our chest or ask for a few things. A one-way street where it is all about us and little about God.

Thankfully God has grander visions for us, and this season of Christmas is not a story about a jolly bearded man on whose lap we wait in line to sit. Rather Christmas is the story of a loving God who cares about justice and mercy, a God who is heavily invested in creation; a God who sent his only Son into the world to save us from ourselves and our attempts at bearding his Father and dressing him up in a red suit.


God, I confess I want you to be safe and demandless. Please break me of this narrow view. By your Holy Spirit, fill me with a true and beautifully powerful understanding of you. Amen.

Written by Daniel Holladay, Senior High Youth Coordinator

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