Preparing for Jesus – Counterculture – Advent, Days 21

Tonight’s Advent Devotional question is was inspired by Luke 1:57-66…the account of the birth of John the baptist…Zechariah and Elizabeth went against cultural traditions by naming their child John, as instructed in Luke 1:13. How is God calling you to go against cultural traditions to further magnify Christ?

Luke 1:59-61

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

I know a little something about this. Being raised Jewish, if I understand all this correctly, I was supposed to be named after my grandfather, who died before I was born. And so…by Jewish tradition, I should have a different name than the one a I carry today.

I am told that this created quite a rift between my father and some of our extended family, many of whom I never met. I am sure that there was more to this story than a family feud over a name. However, it is an interesting example of how tradition and even culture can contribute to the barriers in our lives that block blessings intended for everyone. Tradition and culture, in and of themselves are not bad concepts. They bring a sense of order and comfort in the midst of a world of confusion and chaos. However, when we hang on to tradition and culture at the expense of Loving our God with all of who we are and loving our neighbors as ourselves. bad things happen.

When we confuse a true relationship with God through His Son, filled with the fruit of His Spirit with procedures, processes and preferences everyone loses. When we romanticize and elevate tradition and culture to a level of God status we live as fools. Sometimes I think people get so attached to their traditions and cultures that if a tradition or a culture were to suddenly become a ship on the ocean and it was clear to everyone that the ship was sinking, they would choose to go down with the ship…that is sad.

I wonder what would happen if the world met the real Jesus. If the world came face to face with true Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control unfiltered by tradition, religion and yes even culture. I am sure that many would still reject him. Let’s face it, we all want to be God. But, I also think that many more rush to His feet and we would see true compassion and justice on Earth.

Dear God, I pray that you would help all of us who claim to call Jesus Lord hold our traditions and cultural worldviews loosely. That we would not allow them to become barriers to Your will…that the world would see how much you long to know them and how much you love them through us. AMEN…

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