How do we handle and relate to his judgments and grace, his righteousness and mercy?
The Scriptures give us a deep insight in quite phenomenal sequences of events recording some of God's effectful decisions and moves in the global community of nations.
The famous stories about Israel's exit out of Egypt, the journey through the wilderness and the re-conquest of the land given by God the their forfathers, are not the narratives focused upon in these few lines. Neither it is the supernatural assignemnts given to the judges or the unusual lives of the kings and their spectacular regimes. Our attention must be led to the much more famous 'christian' celebrations: Christmas, the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, and Pentecost. These are recorded in our calendars, at least in the Western nations.
Christmas is celebrated by the millions every single year and maybe therefore it is a true challenge to look away from the presents, the Christmas tree, the carols, and the joyful family-gatherings. And all of this is definitely dear to our hearts and represent fundamental stones in Western civilisations. To challenge their presence and even to remove them for our minds and cultures would have unexpected and deep effects. Maybe irreversible so our coming generations would wander around in life without the spiritual and moral compasses essential to a society built on hope, justice and compassion. Neither Halloween, Valentine’s Day or Black Friday come close to fill the absence of these celebrations. Actually their increasing success is a symptom exposing their absolutely hopless poverty and emptiness.
Easter is also a wellknown event: the death of Jesus on the cross and the following resurrection. We know quite well the big lines. Maybe we are not in the same state of mind as in the case of Christmas, but we do have the invasion of rabbits, eggs and a dream about better weather linked with a legitimate longing for true Spring and Summer.
When it comes to Pentecost we might be even less clear. Both in our contemporary society and in quite substantial parts of the Christian church.
There is not much to say about the Ascension... well... He left them and went back to Heaven.
There is a challenge in cleaning up the mess, filling the holes in our insight and addressing superficial knowledge. New understanding must replace previous understanding. There must be some serious adjustments and corrections made in the light of the new or updated insight. It is an expected scenario in normal life. Continuous evaluations, adjustments and corrections are certainly necessary and highly recommanded.
It is a tremendous help to consider Christmas at a totally different time than Christmas. Otherwise the tree, the decorations, the presents, the good food and our excited descendants might distract us from the core and reality of the matter. Then there is the barn, the animals, the star, the men from the East, the incense and myrrh, and the gold. In our pursuit for understanding it is definitely helpful to separate Christmas from the celebrations in family and church.
The same is the case when it comes to Easter and its scenario in the garden of Getsemane, the walk from Herod to Pilate, the open-air trial, the horror of the Roman torture and the bestiality of crucifixion. Then the empty tomb and what followed. Our minds can easily get overwhelmed and our emotions overstimulated by pictures we have seen and movies we have watched.
We are familiar with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the sound of a mighty wind in the upper room, the discples' speaking in tongues, Peter's words which cut the hearts of many. Of course we especially love to know about the thousands who were born into the Kingdom.
May God take us with Himself behind the scene in order to discover the eternal patterns. Or as David wrote: God’s ways, and not only His deeds.
So you do want to go beyond the obvious about Christmas, Easter and Ascension, and Pentecost?
Could it be that Christmas was more about the Spirit than about the baby Jesus.
Could it be that it is the Father who has the central role at Easter.
Could it be that Pentecost reveals more the Son of God, Christ Jesus, more than the Spirit.
Soon my manual SCENARIOS will be published and you can study by yourself with your bible open and under the guidance of the Spirit. You can definitely look forward to that.