Gabriel Still Speaks

Seeing Shepherds Daniel Bonnell“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people . . .”

Just as Jesus was born during anxious times, we will celebrate Christmas 2015 in a time of bitter disagreements and alarming realities.

But there is enormous hope ahead – especially if we become the hands, feet, and voices of this Good News of Great Joy.  Part of being 21st Century agents of Good News involves knowing when to step back and when to step up.

Here are a couple thoughts about that.

  • Please step up if God is calling you to some scary new purpose.  Note that this is not about you/gaining power/getting a job/climbing a ladder.
  • Please step back if you are no longer called to serve a particular ministry or if the work sucks the life out of you. My friend John Vest wrote about this last week.  He (and Seth Godin) are right.
  • Please step up if you see injustice.  I was talking with a colleague yesterday about whether it’s best to pull out a camera phone or pull out of our indifference when we witness wrongdoing.  Of course, it depends. Sometimes we need to do what Feidin Santana did. Sometimes we need to do what Shannon Johnson did.  Both are life-threatening, but there are also non-life-threatening ways to step up: look people in the eye when we greet them, notice the invisible people out there, give when we can.
  • Please step back if you find yourself in a hot mess this season.  We are entering Ground Zero for family drama and many of us tie ourselves in knots trying to fix the unfixable.  Sometimes all we can do is take a step back and breathe and recognize that God is God and we are not.
  • Please step up if you can do some small thing for a neighbor.  Maybe just be there.

One of my favorite Gabriel sightings was a few years ago when I spent Christmas Eve in an ER with TBC awaiting test results for some mysterious (it-could-be-cancer) maladies.  As midnight drew near, a nurse entered the room with a broad smile saying, “Behold I bring good tidings of great joy!  The tests are negative!”  The nurse’s name tag said “Gabriel.”  Seriously.

We can be Gabriel too, not because we can save people but because God uses us to save people.  Merry Christmas Everybody.

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