David Brooks, in an article appearing in this month’s The Atlantic magazine titled, “How Music Made Bruce Springsteen” tells about how the iconic Springsteen has spent most of his life rejecting the love of those who have tried to love him most. He writes, “Born in 1949, singer Bruce Springsteen was the eldest of three children, and the only son, in a working-class family in Freehold, New Jersey. The house in which Springsteen spent his early childhood was literally a ruin, the walls slowly collapsing. A subsequent house lacked running hot water, so the family filled the single tub with pots heated downstairs on the gas stove; the kids took turns bathing in the same water. Family relationships lacked stability. Bruce's grandmother was devoted to him, and his mother was loyal to her brooding and unstable husband, but rules were nonexistent. At five and six, Bruce was staying up until three in the morning and sleeping until three in the afternoon. He ate when and whatever he wanted. In his memoir Springsteen writes, "It was a place where I felt an ultimate security, full license and a horrible unforgettable boundary-less love. It ruined me and it made me."
Later in his life, Springsteen writes that he started therapy, probing the “mess that he was,” to borrow the phrase he uses for his father. As he describes his habit of cutting off romantic relationships after a couple of years, he's clearly still wrestling with that "horrible unforgettable boundary-less love" from the past:
‘I wanted to kill what loved me because I couldn't stand being loved. It infuriated and outraged me, someone having the temerity to love me—nobody does that … and I'll show you why. It was ugly and a red flag for the poison I had running through my veins, my genes. Part of me was rebelliously proud of my emotionally violent behavior, always cowardly and aimed at the women in my life.’”
As I read that, I could not help but think about how often we’ve been like Bruce Springsteen and rejected the love of the one who has loved us most… God! John in chapter one and verse eleven of his gospel wrote, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”
Sometimes we have trouble receiving God’s love to us simply because it’s hard to believe that we are worthy of His love… and the truth is, we are not worthy of His love, but His love for us is not about our worthiness, it’s about His grace and mercy. That is why God said, “… I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
And that is what Christmas reminds us of, that God loved us in spite of our refusal to be loved and even in the midst of our rejection of Him. So as you enter this wonderful season of the year… worship Him because it was His great everlasting love that caused Him to leave His royal throne and enter our broken world to repair our broken lives. That is Christmas Love, and it is meant for you!
NEW DECEMBER SUNDAY EVENING SCHEDULE… all during the month of December our Sunday evenings will begin at 4:00 PM. And each Sunday at 4:00 will feature a special Christmas musical presentation to help us celebrate the Savior’s birth.
2017 Ministry Budget Vote today…this past Wednesday we had our 2017 proposed budget discussion as is our custom, and that means today we vote to affirm it. It is a very modest increase from last year. Our finance committee did an outstanding job preparing it for our 2017 Ministry operation. Thanks, Finance Committee for a job well done!
The Beautiful Christmas Decorations… are the work of a group of our ladies who worked for several days this week to adorn our auditorium for the season. Great job! Thanks, ladies!
Our newly renovated Fellowship Hall… is ready for use this coming week. It is beautiful in design and function and will blend perfectly with the eventual renovation of our worship center. And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!!!