A lot happens in, at, or around the doors of our lives. Consider the following:
It is at doors that we…
- welcome people - our first act of hospitality begins at the door.
- say goodbye - our last act of hospitality ends at the door.
- We take the trash and things we don’t like or want out through the door
- We bring in treasures from black friday or Christmas shopping and food from the grocery store
- We rush out the door when we are late
- We slam doors when we are angry
- We softly close doors when the babies are asleep or mom / dad has to work the late shift.
- We can close the door on ideas & possibilities
- We hide behind doors to protect our feelings, behavior, or things we have done.
- A door can also be a distraction or temptation
- A door represents mystery - remember the game show that asked, “What’s behind door #1”
- A door represents stepping through from one thing to another; perhaps leaving one thing for another, change or transition, growth and healing.
As we stand on one side of the door, something waits for us on the other side that only Christmas can deliver; only God can provide, and exactly what Jesus came to give: Christmas is indeed a doorway from - Pain to Wholeness. Fear to Assurance. Shame to Hope. Unknowing to Knowing. Darkness to Light. Mystery to Meaning.
John 10:6-10 is one of the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus found in the gospel of John. These are statements in which Jesus tells his followers who he is using tangible and everyday objects they could understand: I AM the bread of life. I AM the light of the world. I AM the door / gate of the sheep. I AM the good shepherd. I AM the resurrection and the life. I AM the way - the truth - and the life. I AM the true vine. Each statement describes an aspect of Jesus; how he provides for and connects his followers to God, and how his followers relate to him as each of those descriptions. How we relate to Jesus as the bread of life - meaning nothing satisfies our hunger or feeds our soul like Jesus - he is life giving and life sustaining to our spirit as bread is to the body. How we relate to Jesus at the light of the world, meaning that Jesus shines even in the darkest of human situations giving us hope. Each “I AM” statement is an illustration of how we relate to that which Jesus is.
In Acts chapter 14, we hear the excitement and affirmation of how Jesus opened the doors of faith for the people that Paul and Barnabus encountered and ministered to on what is called their missionary journey. As they went about preaching, teaching, and ministering the lessons and life of Jesus, they witnessed doors being opened and lives being transformed. Much like a work team, missionary on furlough, or a mission trip team comes back from their endeavors and shares with the church what they witnessed, how lives, including their own were changed, and how they saw God at work.
When we look at the lives of the people in all these scenarios and more, it doesn’t take a seminary or doctorate degree to realize that throughout the bible, there is one thing common to every person, community, situation, event, or circumstance - they were people who were hurting, outcast, persecuted, imprisoned in some way, facing illness, death, or tragedy, and people who questioned, doubted, and walked in fear. In other words, throughout the bible the people who needed God and Jesus the most were the ones who were in some way spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically, wounded, broken, filled with pain, overwhelmed, or incomplete. They were often afraid, confused, and struggling with decisions, identity, and purpose.
Sound like anyone you know? I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a lot of people today. YET, that is the world we live in, AND that is the world God so loved and gave his only son. That is the gift we wait and prepare for during Advent.
What door is waiting for you?
What door remains locked in your heart & mind?
What door are you avoiding for fear of what you might find?
What door are you grateful is now closed and you can move on?
What door did you walk through that now looking back, made you stronger and wiser.
What door do you need to open this Advent?
Wherever you are this season. Whatever you are dealing with or sorting through. Whatever is good, beautiful, and true or bad, ugly, and false in your life. Whatever door is before or behind you, know that God is there and trust that Jesus walks with you. This Christmas, may we all enter into the fullness of God’s promises and open the door to wholeness, assurance, hope, light, and meaning.
Prayer - God of waiting and preparing, Open the door of our hearts and walk us through to a deeper understanding of your grace, love, and the promise of life found in Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Jenothy Irvine