I Claim Christ

Fall and spring are my favorite seasons of the year. In spring,everything comes back to life from a season of cold, darkness and dormancy. New life begins to spring forth and baseball begins. In fall, the colors change; the air changes. Everything seems to be in change mode and we escape the hot humidness of summer. Football begins, school begins, and the church season starts to point us toward Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas.

2020 has unfolded in a way that no one expected. At this time last year, churches were planning for 2020. None imagined it would turn out as it has. As United Methodists, we all thought this was to be the year of great change within our denomination.

But instead, the entire world would change and shift through COVID-19 and worldwide protests against racial injustice. Many have experienced 2020 as a year of natural disasters like fires or hurricanes. Many have experienced life-altering losses of careers or family members. Many lost time in quarantine because sickness invaded their homes.

Who knew 2020 would be the year of Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype and countless other virtual meeting platforms? Who knew this would be the year of criticism and even more division? As we have socially distanced and conducted more of our lives behind the safety of the computer screen, we have become ruder and more critical of each other. It is as if road rage has migrated to life rage. In 2020 sickness, loss and lamentation seems to never end.
In the midst of this chaos, I claim Christ! I cannot wait for Advent and Christmas! I claim Christ! I still believe Christ is greater than any sickness, pain or despair. I still believe in the power of Christ’s grace, even if we seem to lose our grace with one another.

I claim Christ as the “bright, morning star,” the magnificent gift of God with us best of all! I sing with the Gaithers in the old song, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!” Jesus being born into our broken world gives us a determined hope for a new day and a new way of living. I claim Christ!

For so many people, 2020 has placed them in an awful space that feeds hopelessness and frustration. However, Advent reminds us to see Christ even in an uncertain future.

The babe born in Bethlehem’s crib faced certain uncertainty. Yet, he was born unto us a child. He was born into a world which seemed to have no nice room available, yet he was born!

I claim Christ. Let us join against all the odds with the sheepherders and go to Bethlehem in 2020 to see this baby for ourselves, this God revealed to us.

Luke 2:15 The Message As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.”

Let us light our Christ Candles this year and reclaim or claim the presence of Christ in our lives and world.

Christ is our hope, our handle, our living water in chaotic times. Christ alone is our salvation. “Come, Thou long expected Jesus.”

In Christ,

Bishop Farr