In the northern climes of Scandinavia, it’s normal to have barely any winter sun rising above the horizon during the day, and barely any sun setting below the horizon all summer.

In a desert climate, it’s normal to have extreme temperature swings from day to night.

In a major world city, it’s normal to have industrial smog and traffic congestion – and noise.

In days before electricity, it was normal for many daily tasks to be physically exhausting.

Before the airplane, it was normal for transatlantic crossings to be slow and perilous.

Building methods for pyramids, castles, early cathedrals, etc. were sometimes the undertaking of more than a hundred years. That was normal.

Life for Adam and Eve in the Garden was totally devoid of fear and anxiety and dread and shame. That, too, was normal (if tragically short-lived).

Today, we still deal with the fallout from Adam’s disobedience, in inherited rebellious brokenness. We are bombarded with circumstances which call out to that brokenness to arouse fear and anxiety and dread and shame. This is NOT normal. 

We were created for Shalom with God, to be fully integrated with Him, heart to heart with Him, to worship Him in His holiness, to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. That is our normal. The afore-mentioned darknesses serve only to dis-integrate us, to dismantle us, to contribute to our soul’s destruction. And all the while the consistent Biblical message calling out to God’s ‘little children,’ His ‘little flock,’ is: Do not fear. Be not afraid. It’s because sin tilts the needle away from peace and toward fear every time. During Advent, we heard God speaking peace, in stark, fear-inducing situations, to Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Jesus’ disciples (you might have heard him speaking it to you, too).

We find ourselves on this Twelfth Day of Christmas, at the zenith of a brand-new year, rich with life’s sweetest blessings and gut-wrenching challenges, happys and uglies, wins and face plants. The questions before us are: Will we fear? Will we give in to that all-too-familiar allurement of darkness? Or will we hide ourselves in the safe-keeping and promised provision of Jesus? Will we choose to make joy our continual feast, our lives, lives of prayer? The crazy cool scary thing is that the choice is ours! “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Colossians 4:6-8 TPT (This, you know, is original, integrated holiness for which we were created, and to which we are being invited to return). Three cheers for ‘normal’! PD

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