Kingdom values are upside down from the world’s values is a statement that is often made by the pastor of our church. This has also become a mantra in the Wenger home. As believers, the Christmas season highlights this truth and the countercultural nature of our faith. While the world tells us our desires can be fulfilled by abundance, the Lord declares, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lule 6:20). As our students (and sometimes we) feverishly write Christmas lists, Jesus reminds us that, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). When social media presents a polished, “perfect” version of reality, we see the King of Kings humbled to a dingy manger and eventually death on a cross. Kingdom values are upside down from the world’s values.

This Advent season I am not only reminded of the humility and obedience of Jesus but of his mother as well. When the angel Gabriel tells Mary, a very unlikely candidate to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah, that she will give birth to a son she could have complained about the cost to her reputation or allowed fear to overwhelm her. Instead, she submits and says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Reading this I cannot help but think of our students and am reminded that sometimes the youngest and least likely among us are most open and willing to be used by God. Just this week I learned of one of our first-grade students who has been saving his own money to give to the Double the Donation campaign. What does he want the money designated for? Scholarships for those in need. Kingdom values are upside down from the world’s values.

God took on flesh and dwelt among us. He chose a young, unmarried girl from the wrong side of the tracks to carry his son and be his mother. Through Jesus’ coming, life, death, and resurrection we have direct access to our Heavenly Father. Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus. As John Piper states, “It was a very costly love. A very powerful love. A very rugged, painful love. The meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this love. “God so loved . . .” And wonder of wonders, God gives this costly love to an undeserving world of sinners, like us.” Kingdom values are upside down from the world’s values.

I encourage you this Advent season to take time and ponder this incomprehensible gift. He has come and will come again. We have Hope! As you gather close with loved ones my prayer is that you draw even closer to the One who loved us first and praise Him for the gift we receive daily, not just on the 25th of December.

Merry Christmas,

Jen Wenger