Theology 101

Who is the “Extraordinary Strategist” of Christmastime?

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In the heart of the Christmas season, we usually consider questions of planning for the coming new year, both at the office and at home. But during this particular season—Christmas 2020—those questions come in the midst of a particularly confusing, utterly puzzling time. Here are just a couple on my mind:  

  • Advance planning for 2021: Is strategy even possible? The thought seems almost laughable.
  • How do we make already-stretched dollars stretch even further? 
  • What do we do about gatherings with family, friends, and coworkers?  

Amidst my wondering, I’ve found it helpful to boldly, humbly pray: “Please, King Jesus, come meet with us. Lead the way. Lend your wisdom, please, Lord.”   

It doesn’t matter what the situation is. I might be headed into a board meeting and pondering, “What in the world? How will we address that?” Or, faced with a tangled situation for a staff member, I’m asking, “Where is the wisdom? What’s the right way to go?” Or when I’m trying to encourage a coworker but still grasping at thin air, I wonder, “Is there something, anything, I can really say to help?”

These days, now more than ever,  I find myself constantly tossing out that gutsy, on-the-fly, hurry-up, heart cry: “Please, King Jesus, come meet with us. Lead the way. Lend your wisdom, please, Lord.”

The Most Wonderful Time of Year? 

We tend to think of Christmas as a magical, miracle time. Certainly, there is much for us to celebrate at this time of year. But all is not automatically merry and bright in our lives just because Christmastime is here. In fact, the extraordinary nature of the season can make our typical struggles and day-to-day work disheartening, especially after a year like this.   

This year, more than ever, we need the wisdom Blumhardt provides in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas:

The work for God goes on quite simply in this way; one does not always have to wait for something out of the ordinary. The all-important thing is to keep your eyes on what comes from God and to make way for it to come into being here on the earth. If you always try to be heavenly and spiritually minded, you won’t understand the everyday work God has for you to do. But if you embrace what is to come from God, if you live for Christ’s coming in practical life, you will learn that divine things can be experienced here and now. 

Christmastime means we get to practice Christ’s presence all the time—especially in our ordinary, everyday labors. After all, his name Emmanuel conveys pervasive significance for our work-a-day world. And this reality is at the heart of the Apostle Paul’s strong encouragement: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord . . .” (Col 3:23).

Emmanuel: The Strategist With Us

If you’re like me, you might be asking, “Okay, okay, but what about those times when I just don’t readily see his work or it seems no answer is landing? What about those situations where no strategic insight immediately comes and all still feels utterly confusing?” I think that’s where we must come back to the confidence that comes from the babe who already came. The prophet Isaiah foretold: 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

One name really stands out for me in these puzzling days of 2020: Wonderful Counselor. I love how The Passion Translation renders “Counselor.” It conveys with nuanced paraphrase the Christ-child’s name as “Extraordinary Strategist.”

There’s a fresh and encouraging way to think of our wonderful Christ and the counsel he supplies. Even when I don’t yet have the answer for the puzzling staff conundrum or know a solution to the board room dilemma, in those moments I can turn to my Extraordinary Strategist and say, “Please, King Jesus, come meet with us. Lead the way. Lend your wisdom, please.”

I can trust King Jesus will accomplish that, because he already came. Let that sink a little deeper into the recesses of your soul today. Based on the ancient prophecy and Jesus’ arrival, I can know regarding my own puzzling situation, he’s on it. He’s got this! I can be confident that he’s always working. Why?

He already came, and he is the Extraordinary Strategist of Christmastime.   

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