Category Archives: Discipleship

Simple Grace

Yesterday, I drove 60 miles in heavy rain.  Most of that was on an interstate where the normal speed limit is 65.  Of course, it’s fairly common on clear days to be passed by cars doing considerably above that even when I’m driving a little above the limit.  Experiencing that kind of high-speed driving and the occasional intemperate switching from lane-to-lane from fellow travelers on very wet roads in a driving rain to me seems to be…inconsiderate.  Maybe my age is showing, but I don’t think that’s it.  I’ve felt this way since I began driving. 

Now I do need to confess that a number of years ago I had an accident in a rainstorm.  All of my family was in the car.  Our three children were young, including our youngest who wasn’t quite two months old.  On a curving on-ramp to I-295 in a heavy thunderstorm, I never thought much of the pool of water in the road.  I wasn’t going fast, maybe 25mph. I lost control of the car as the tires lost contact with the road and the car hydroplaned and slammed into the concrete curb.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, and there were no other cars in front of or behind us.  The front tie-rods were broken making the car not drivable.  

That night is strongly etched in my mind all these years later.  You might say I’m a little sensitive which is why I think it’s so important to remember that we share the road and life with others.  The simple graces hardly cost anything at all.  Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ is not just for children.  Letting people finish what they are saying without interrupting them to say what you want to say is about valuing their voice as much as you value your own.  Demonstrating courtesy like holding a door or using a blinker when turning or changing lanes only involves a little wrist action.  Exercising the patience so as to not tailgate others or weave in and out of traffic may require a little more restraint, but we all will be more likely to get where we’re headed with a lot less stress.

You might say this is not going to change anything and that people will continue to do these things.   I disagree.  If just one person adjusts some aspect of their life to offer simple grace to others, then that’s a change.  And maybe, that one person may influence someone else to do the same. 

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.  

He’s GOD

GOD is greater than what I think is good.

GOD is greater than my troubles.

GOD is greater than my worries and fears.

GOD is greater than my preferences.

GOD is greater than my hopes, dreams, and deepest desires.

GOD is greater than my opinions and speculations.

GOD is greater than the things that frustrate me, annoy me, and anger me.

GOD is greater than my needs.

GOD is greater than my past.

GOD is greater than my present.

GOD is greater than my future.

GOD is greater than my friends.

GOD is greater than what I love.

GOD is greater than my family.

GOD is greater than life.

GOD is greater than me.

GOD is greater than all that opposes Him.

GOD is greater…

Today, I yield to GOD’s greatness.

Blessed be His Holy Name!

More Than Enough

“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.”  (Matthew 6:33, Passion Bible)

One of my favorite worship songs is More Than Enough1 as sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.  In summary, it speaks of GOD’s complete sufficiency as a provider, a healer, and the blessing of His constant presence.  The song’s aim is to reaffirm in our hearts and minds that the person of GOD and the provision of GOD exceeds our every need.  I can’t hear it or sing it without experiencing emotion that can’t be contained.  

I firmly believe that the GOD I know has a storehouse of riches that is infinite in its abundance.  I believe that abundance is a prime character trait of the economy of the kingdom of GOD.  This is the economy which Jesus introduced to the world and for which His followers, His Church, has the responsibility to demonstrate and promote.  GOD’s economy of abundance is in direct opposition to the economy of scarcity which characterizes the world and its nations. 

The economy of abundance says there is enough of everything for everyone to have their needs met.  There is enough food for everyone in the world to eat, there is enough work for everyone so that everyone can contribute to the whole, there is enough money so that no one needs to be destitute, there is enough space for everyone to live peacefully and safely, there is enough love for everyone to receive, there is enough compassion to share broadly…there is enough.  In fact, there is more than enough. Cases in point are the occasions in which Jesus fed thousands out of what appeared to be very little.  In both cases, there were leftovers after the multitudes were fed.      

Conversely, the economy of scarcity says “no” to all of the above; there is not enough of everything for everyone.  The size of the pie is finite, and the more some have the less others will have.   Because the economy of scarcity says “no,” unused food is plowed under or stored and then often rots in one part of the world while people starve in another part.  The economy of scarcity is why the richest 1% of the world’s population owns in excess 50% of the globe’s total wealth, a number that continues to grow for the richest and shrink for the poorest2.  The economy of scarcity is why we will always have people living in homelessness and deep poverty, unable to find an escape.  The economy of scarcity is why we create reasons to fear and demonize “the other” and need ways to keep “them” out (closed neighborhoods, privatized schools, gated communities and border walls which cost billions of dollars).  The economy of scarcity effectively states that there is only so much opportunity, so much love, and so much compassion to go around and those who live outside the boundaries of privilege are not eligible to receive.  

Sidebar: Imagine being able to use hoarded and misappropriated money to fund equitable public education, broad access to post high school education for those who want it, development of vaccines, cures, and other advanced medical protocols, expansion of non-fossil based energy sources to support the re-greening of the earth, universal quality support and care for the other abled, the disabled and the elderly…

I’m not fostering some utopian ideal or human-based political economy.  Instead, at least in the realms in which the Church can exert influence, it is GOD’s economy of abundance where the rhetoric of grace is actually the reality of grace that abounds and where the will of GOD is done on earth as it is in heaven.  Perhaps difficulty buying-in to this is because of a lack of belief that GOD’s way actually works (and a belief that the world’s way does).      

The primary value in GOD’s economy of abundance is GOD’s righteousness.  It is the natural extension of loving GOD and loving our neighbors as ourselves which Jesus declared as the two greatest commandments.  The primary values of economies of scarcity are acquisition, self-promotion and self-protection.  It is a natural extension of loving self and those closest to us above all else.  

In GOD’s economy of abundance, there is recognition of human psycho-social and material needs (read or reread Matthew 6:33), but they are always secondary and come as a promised provision based on faith and obedience.  In the world’s economy of scarcity, human needs, desires and preferences are always primary and are always subject to competition and conflict (between individuals, groups, regions, and nations).        

So here’s my question for those who claim to be citizens of the kingdom of GOD.  Which of these two economies is most evident in your life, not enough or more than enough?  I ask the question of you (and of myself) because it goes to the heart of practicing what we preach.     

  1. More Than Enough” by Robert Lane Gay.
  2. “Richest 1% own half the world’s wealth, study finds,” The Guardian, US edition, 2017.

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.


Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant,
 of those who obey his commandments! (Psalm 103-15-18)

Saturday was an odd day; it was mixed with bittersweetness, the sadness that comes with feeling powerless, the joyous anticipation of celebration, reminders of days past, and the fragility of life.  It was all experienced over the course of 10 hours.  I think the phrase “life soup” might apply. 

Late morning:  I received a text response from our college freshman granddaughter who moved into her dorm room on Friday after commuting for the first semester.  A moment after texting me, she FaceTimed® my wife.  Of course, I invaded that call and hung-out for a few moments while she gave us the virtual tour of her room.  I tend to remember details about the lives of my children and grandchildren and was feeling a little emotional as I recalled holding her just a few days after she was born, playing in the pool with her at age three, and her falling asleep on my chest while at a large family gathering when she was five or six.  I don’t think I missed very many of her dance recitals and plays from early childhood all through high school.  In the scheme of things, it may not be the biggest of issues, but I really love my family and watching the little ones grow-up to be not so little pulls on my heart strings.         

Early afternoon: I placed a call to a nonagenarian (age 90 to 99) I know who lives on the grounds of a nearby retirement/nursing home community.  A long-retired attorney, he is a widower who sold his home and purchased a unit in this community in the Fall of 2019.  He still lives independently, only requiring minor assistance from time to time.  In a different environment, this might be ideal for him, but because of the Covid restrictions imposed by his community, he’s been in virtual isolation for most of the last 10 months because there are strict limitations on visits to his unit, including visits by his adult children, none of whom live nearby.  He’s able to get out to tend to personal business needs, but because of his age, he’s very limited in how much he can do and how far he can go.  He complained to me of being very lonely and frustrated.  He thinks he made the wrong decision to purchase there and is considering selling his unit and leaving altogether.          

Mid-afternoon: This was the celebration time as it involved cake testing as a part of my baby girl’s wedding preparations and my wife and I spending time with her, her fiancé and his parents (all with appropriate distancing and mask wearing).  That was a little odd, but we all do what we have to do to make things work.  It turned out to be a nice time, and I really wasn’t ready to leave but had to because of what was coming up next.     

Early evening: Participated on a Zoom® call with a group of elementary and high school classmates.  I saw some of these folks a year and a half ago at our high school class’s 50th reunion, but there were some on the call who didn’t attend the reunion.  We’re all in that 70ish age area.  Grey heads and grey beards were in abundance (for those who still have hair).  I was late signing on so it was a small blessing to hear several call my name out when they saw my screen and asking me questions, all at once.  I’ve known some of them since kindergarten, and have some fond memories of those days, the schools we attended, the teachers we had, and the stories of the days of our younger selves.

Around 8:00pm: I received word that a college classmate had a stroke within the last few days and was in a rehabilitation center/nursing home.  It’s been many years since I last saw him, but we had a connection in that he introduced me to my wife.  This former college and semi-professional basketball player/athlete experienced some hard knocks in his later life and was living hard.  I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear the news of his illness given some of the choices he had made, but I was sad, nonetheless.  Based on what I heard, he has to relearn how to use his legs to walk.  I’d love to go visit him but can’t because of Covid restrictions.  I’m sure he could use some encouragement.

In combination, all of this reminded me that human life really is like a vapor.  It can be so full of wonder, gladness, and joy one moment and a short time later, it’s something vastly different.  We can and should enjoy life while we’re able, and there is often plenty to enjoy.  Still, there is no surety in it.  Sooner or later, we all have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  It’s for that reason, I place my hope and my trust in GOD; the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.            

Off Point Values

Expedience is not a Christian spiritual value – Me

There’s an issue that has weighed heavily on me for the last several years, and while I have touched on it here and there, I feel the need to be more direct.  Let me say first that I am grateful to those who take the time to read what I write, both those who are Jesus followers as I seek to be, those who have reservations about Him, and those whose belief systems are fundamentally different than mine.  I don’t take your interest lightly and appreciate each of you. 

That said, I want to be explicit: I love the Church.  I believe it is the physical body of Christ in this world for which He gave His life to redeem (repurchase).  And to this body, He is the head in all things.  Because the Church His body, He cares deeply for the Church and is fully aware of her errors, her flaws, her potential, and is continually seeking her perfection.  

The Church offered me a needed lifeline early in my adult life, and I have believed and worked to be part of that lifeline offering to others over the years. I have gotten to know and experience GOD and His community of believers through the Church such that I want more and more of Him and them.  I am so grateful that GOD is not stingy; He gives of Himself freely to those who seek after Him.  Our relationship continues to deepen even after all these years.  The Church has been the facilitator for all of this.  I love the Church so much that I hate to see spiritual compromise operating within her. 

There is no question that there are many serious, controversial and complex social and political issues at work in our society.  They have been present for many years, and I suspect will continue to be present for many more.  They have been the catalyst for much division and worse.  I say “catalyst” rather than reason because I believe the actual reasons for division (and worse) lies in the heart dispositions of human beings.  Sometimes, the rationale for harmful, hurtful, and even hateful treatment has been the perceived moral laxity of others leading to a belief that otherwise questionable attitudes and actions are justified because they serve a greater societal good. 

There is nothing particularly new here, it is common to humanity.  The problem for me is when the Church adopts this path, treating political expediency as a spiritual value in order to combat moral decline, aligning itself with those whose aims are political power and whose tactics are power politics.  And power politics always has targets which are often anyone considered to be an outlier from the majority’s norm.   

While some in the Church thinks this kind of alignment strengthens her position to affect moral transformation, I think she is weakened by it in the long-run.  Make no mistake; I have huge concerns about what I see as moral decline and even degradation and the spiritual darkness (disguised as enlightened thinking) in which this decline festers.  If the Church is going to be faithful to her calling, however, she cannot follow a common path.  “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).  

There is no divine power in the common path and yet too often, I think, our history shows that we keep coming back to it, perhaps because it’s relatively easy and expedient.  We keep fighting with the weapons of the world.  We keep giving to Caesar what belongs to GOD.  We keep seeking power alliances to advance our agendas.  We keep placing our bets on utilitarian philosophy (from a spiritual perspective, justifying questionable means for the sake of perceived righteous ends) rather than the historical Christianity we claim to be upholding.  And by doing these things, we are proclaiming expedience is a spiritual value.  It is not!  It never has been.  If it were, Jesus would have allowed His followers to fight to prevent His arrest (John 18:36).  He did not do that.  In fact, Jesus rebuked Peter for his initial attempt to fight for Jesus (John 18:10-11).  Paul rebuked the Corinthians for judging those outside the Church, instead saying that those in the Church should judge those on the inside (1 Corinthians 5:12).     

The truth is that, throughout history, every time the Church has sought the use of political power to gain social advantage, she was weakened by a distorted witness.  Her credibility suffered because she was viewed as just another special interest group among many.  The powerful and mystical distinctiveness of Christ, who freely gave grace, compassion and forgiveness, who did not manipulate nor condemn nor curry favor with anyone, and who sacrificed Himself for the sake of others, was clouded by mixed messages and the need to defend against charges of hypocrisy.  Are we not seeing some (or much) of that today?   

I would love to see changes in the moral fabric of our time.  I do believe in a singular objective standard of right and wrong, of sin and righteousness that flows from the wisdom of GOD.  What I don’t believe in is in using earthly means to gain heavenly outcomes.  As Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).  It is not the business of the Church, which belongs to Jesus Christ, to undermine His way, His truth, His life, and to do so in His name.    

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted. 

A Day In The Life

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6)

One of the first albums I ever purchased was “A Day in the Life” by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery.*  I was 16.  Before that, I and most of my friends were into R&B song played on 45s.  To the uninitiated, most vinyl records at that time were the smaller, two-song 45rpms (one song on each side) or the larger album sized 331/3 which contained multiple songs on both sides of the vinyl.  

I still have that album all these years later.  I also have it in a CD.  It is one of the most mellow sets of music in my collection, and I still enjoy listening to it a half century after venturing into the record shop to buy it.

Yesterday, while out driving, my wife and I were reflecting on our lives (a little bit about the past, but mostly about the present), and we both concluded that we are content in life.  We both still have room to grow and have a desire to serve, but we’re really not striving or stressed by what we don’t have or by what we have not accomplished.  

A day in my life does not have the variety that it once had as my pace of living has purposefully slowed.  There is a mellowness I’m able to experience more now than ever before.  Now, when I do engage outside of myself, I’m able to experience more energy and focus because the distractions and distortions that might otherwise be in the foreground have shifted to the background.

Comedian, writer, director, producer Mel Brooks is famous for the saying “It’s good to be the fill in the blank” in his films.  I think it’s good to be content.  I have been given my portion.  The boundary lines of my inheritance surround wonder, beauty and hope.  It’s like a 331/3 album.  There are many songs, and each one has contributed to my good.

It’s good to be content. 


* “A Day In The Life,” recorded by Wes Montgomery at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1967. 

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.                     


“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

Several days ago, a colleague who teaches at a northeastern college posted a powerful lament on Facebook® as a response to the events at the Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.    

In its noun form, a “lament” is a feeling or expression of grief or sorrow sometimes found in song or poem (Free Dictionary, Online).  Though not exclusive to the Bible, many of the psalms attributed to King David are prayers of lament in which he shared his feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness with GOD (and sometimes aimed at GOD).  The Book of Lamentations, attributed to the Prophet Jeremiah, is an extended lament over the fate of Jerusalem after its downfall at the hands of the Babylonians.       

I processed that post as a reminder and a challenge to make a decision, to rail or to lament?  The natural thing to do is to rail.  Anger is an easy emotion to express.  The violence on Capitol Hill was the fruit of long-term railing, a verbal shaking of fists, that led to the use of physical fists and beyond.  Is it right that I rail at others, directly, through social media or other means, in order to vent my feelings?  It certainly would be easy, and I can’t claim that I have never done that.

Somehow, though, I’ve come to believe that biblical lament is the better choice.  The battles that need to be fought are GOD-sized; humans have been railing at each other for one reason or another for multiple millennia, usually without lasting positive effect.  It is a failed strategy, although it often feels good in the moment.  Those moments, however, pass.   

The strength of lament is that it acknowledges both our emotions and our human limitations and gives those frustrations, angers, pains, points of sadness, and hopeful desires, and places them in the hands and heart of GOD.  The familiar pattern of biblical laments is that after all the complaining is done, trust and confidence in Him is expressly affirmed.

Furthermore, lament is a way to “cease the striving” which exhausts our souls and which leads us away from GOD-centered wisdom and toward self-centered wisdom, which, in the end, is not wisdom at all.  So while I won’t deny my feelings nor will I anesthetize my thoughts through a faux spirituality which denies hard reality, I will not rail at the wind nor at others.  I trust that when the proverbial dust settles, He will make all things well.

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.    

Alone With Him

“Have you ever been alone with GOD?” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)

I am very blessed in that I have several friends with whom I can engage in unfiltered discussions about spiritual and theological issues.  There are still matters about which I’m not fully resolved, and so having the ability to wrestle with these things out-loud is important to me.

I had once such conversation a few days ago concerning how well individual Christians, many of whom are physically disconnected from their local churches because of Covid, are faring spiritually.   I’ve had a little exposure to church leaders who conducted their ministries in physically and emotionally hostile environments, and I’ve long questioned how we in the West would handle it if there were significant and long-lasting obstacles to traditional church participation (i.e. church school, worship service, prayer gatherings, small groups, etc.) and the close relationships, mutual encouragement/support and calls to action that grows out of that fellowship.  

I think we’re pretty much there, at least for a lot of former regular church goers.  Unlike other parts of the world where hostility and sometimes virulent persecution of Christians is normal, Covid does not allow for the development of an “underground church” (except for maybe some anti-maskers and “Covid is a conspiracy” advocates).  Nine months has been more than enough time for most of us to settle into new routines, including those who may have been church fringe players to begin with.  Getting up on Sunday (or Saturday for some) morning and preparing to head to a church gathering place may have been replaced by new routines.  Virtual attendance/participation has become an important tool for many.  Some others may have checked-out enough that even virtual participation is inconsistent and maybe even unimportant.  When Covid is no longer the threat it is now, will those groups return to in-person presence?  Have new routines become so hardwired so that it is unlikely the local church will see them much, if at all?  

The big questions for me are how many of them counted on regular physical attendance for their spiritual feeding, but never adequately developed the passion and discipline to feed themselves?  How many are good with having someone else explain scriptural truths to them but never developed the habit of regularly digging into scripture themselves?  How many are grateful to know someone is praying for them or will ask someone to pray for them but don’t have a prayer life of their own?  How many don’t know what it’s like to spend time alone with GOD?     

As a former local church pastor, these were always concerns.  Imagine an adult who would have nothing to eat unless a parent or someone else prepared a meal and then literally fed it to them.  Not only that, they wouldn’t even have much of an appetite, but would eat if someone provided it.  As ludicrous as that sounds, it is not at all a far-fetched metaphor for those who have never developed any consistent, personal devotional life outside of the four walls of the church building.  They “eat” only when they “come to church” and only what someone else serves them.  The pervasive reality of Covid not only complicates this issue for these folks, it highlights it with a bold yellow highlighter.

Jesus, in one of His parables, used the example of ten young women who were to be the bridal attendants at a wedding ceremony.  Because the wedding celebration could begin upon the arrival of the bridegroom, these young women needed to be prepared for both a daytime and a nighttime arrival.  Consequently, each of them had lamps, but only five of the women had sufficient oil to take them well into the night.  Instead of the other five getting oil for their lamps as night fell, they all fell asleep.  Suddenly, word came that the bridegroom was near.  They rushed to purchase oil.  Meanwhile the wedding celebration began without those five.  When they arrived, they were denied entry when the bridegroom said he didn’t recognize them.       

While the ending may seem preposterous to our 21st century western ears, the parable was intended to be an object lesson on spiritual readiness.  The oil enables the lamp to cast physical light in the same way that the indwelling Spirit enables the believer to cast spiritual light.  Attaining capacity and demonstrating it in daily life is the validating indicator for each one desiring entry into the eschatological wedding ceremony (Rev. 19:7-9).  That kind of oil can’t be purchased in a store; it is the direct result of regular alone time with the One who gives spiritual oil freely and abundantly to those who earnestly seek Him (Luke 11:13).  

Covid, I think, has exposed the soft spiritual underbelly of those too dependent on others to give them their spiritual bread.  That substance is needed daily (Matthew 6:11).  Without it, we may not be ready when the Bridegroom arrives because we are not casting light…and not able to.

As Solomon said, there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:17).  There is a time to get ready and then there is a time to celebrate.  Let’s learn how to get alone with God now so that we can be ready later for the celebration.   

© Byron L. Hannon, 2021.   All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.  

Hold On, Just For A Moment!

I was watching a college football halftime show and one of the analysts was lamenting to extent to which Covid-19 had upset normalcy in society and particularly its impact on the unencumbered play of college football.  Like the rest of us are impacted, all players, coaches, fans, and schools have been affected.  The schools with big-time programs also have experienced major economic hits as their football programs provide millions of dollars in revenue.  Taking a stab at humor, there was a paper shredder on the table and the analyst making the complaints started shredding pieces of paper with the year 2020 emblazoned in bold letters.

For certain, 2020 has been a tough year around the globe, but before it passes into obscurity let’s not ditch it before looking to see if there are lessons we can glean from it.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • It’s not 2020’s fault.  Sure, there is symbolic blame we can cast on it, but when the clock reaches 12:01am on January 1, 2021 we will face the same challenges as we did in March 2020.  It was only a year ago when we were looking forward to saying “Happy New Year” as 2019 came to a close.  While there may be light at the end of the tunnel because of the pending availability of vaccines, it may be mid-summer before we have universal availability in this country, not to mention other countries around the world.  The challenges of economic and emotional recovery will loom large well into 2021…and there are no guarantees, which brings me to the next point.      
  • If nothing else, this experience, hopefully, has taught us and continues to teach us that we don’t have the control over our environment we thought we had.  Scientific and technological advances combined with the relative wealth of living in a “1st world” country can create an illusion of sovereignty, unlimited personal agency and even arrogance.  Nope!  No matter how far advanced we become, there have always been historical events beyond the control of persons, individual and collective wealth, scientific expertise, and governmental strength that remind us that we are neither transcendent nor unlimited.  Perhaps it was just our time.  This alone should humble us…and keep us humble.
  • The only tests of resilience are difficulties.  Endurance is only needed when there is something to overcome.  This past year has required, of all of us, resilience and endurance.  For some, it has been more so than for others.  Still, I suspect it will continue to be so as we try to recover, adapt, and move forward.  And perhaps the resilience and endurance we’ve had to demonstrate in 2020 will give us confidence for whatever we may face in the future.

So, before we throw 2020 away into the dustbin of forgetfulness, let’s take time to see what else it might say to us that can actually help us in 2021.  May the new year give you clear eyes to see and fresh ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.  


© Byron L. Hannon, 2020.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.                

Advent Memo

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”                                                                                (Luke 2:11-14)

Asking the question, “Didn’t you get the memo?” or hearing someone say, jokingly, “I must not have gotten the memo” is a pretty common and light-hearted way of talking about instances of not getting a piece of information that everyone else seems to have gotten.  This passage from Luke is a memo of sorts sent, not to the elite of society (I suspect there was a shortage of elites in rural Bethlehem), but instead to some blue-collar outdoor workers assigned to the night shift.  

The message to them was one of peace.  I’ve always preferred to look at these words as GOD extending, by way of His Son, a peace offering to the humanity that was estranged from Him.  The relationship between GOD and His greatest creation was broken and dysfunctional.  The healing of relationships always requires someone taking the first step.  GOD took the first step and extended a hand.  

Many since then have taken the memo to heart and have made peace with GOD, through Jesus Christ, and have experienced the reality of a peace that is hopeful and which sustains through time or circumstance.  Quite a few are alive today; I’m blessed to know some. 

Still, we seem to live in an environment where harmony and benevolence (mutual peace and goodwill) is in too short supply.  Caustic attitudes, self-centeredness, anger, resentment and even worse, with the attendant justifications and confusion, seems the order of the day for enough folks that it’s impossible to ignore. Did they not get the memo?  If not, why not?  It’s not like anyone is hiding it.  It’s there for everyone.   If they did get it, are they ignoring it as if there is no downside to ignoring it?  What’s up with that?

One of the dynamics of peace with GOD is that it leads to peace with others.  GOD apparently values peace a great deal.  See Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God” i.e. those who intentionally seek and make peace with others bear a resemblance to their Father in heaven.  

I’m not speaking of false peace which is just an absence of visible conflict or where animosity is suppressed behind a false face.  The peace I refer to is rooted in and flows from such a deep reverence and regard for GOD (love) that it translates into a deep, unselfish regard (love) for everyone else’s humanity.  It makes no distinction.  Jesus spoke to this when He said that loving GOD with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is the greatest commandment and second to that is loving our neighbor as ourselves.  

We can’t experience this if we don’t have or really want His peace within, if we didn’t read the memo or take it to heart.  It is there for the taking.  Take it!  Though others may choose not to, don’t settle for less than GOD’s best.    

As we approach the celebration day for the first Advent of Jesus Christ, let us recall what Paul, an   Apostle of Christ, said from his imprisonment: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Read the memo.  Selah.

© Byron L. Hannon, 2020.  All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.