God’s Time and Place


It would be hard to overemphasize the importance of Christmas to Christian theology. While the death of Jesus on a cross has become the global symbol of Christianity, his arrival in Bethlehem is no less important.  The stories of Jesus’s birth in the gospels give shape to much of our understanding of who God is, who we are, and even how we do theology. The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:6 that the incarnation (that’s the fancy word to describe God taking on flesh and becoming a man) demonstrates that God is, by nature, a being who gives himself in love for his creation. In Jesus’s birth and life, we see the kind of life humanity was made to have – one of dependence and submission to God that leads to fullness of life.

The arrival of God in a specific town, at a specific time and place, shows that God does not exist in a vacuum. Place and time and culture matter. Context matters when we do theology. So today, as you think about what Christmas means, take a few minutes to enjoy a tour of modern-day Bethlehem with one of my favorite video tour guides.  It isn’t the same town it once was, and that matters.

There’s no going back – and that’s ok. Because the incarnation of Jesus paved the way for God to come to you today, in your place and your context…even if the world has changed in the 2000 years since his first coming.

Dan Passerelli


Pray as You Go

praying at sunsetI’ve always envied people who could get up early in the morning to pray and read scripture.  Listening to God and speaking to him seems like a great way to start the day – but whenever I try it I end up tired and distracted.  After about a week I give up in a fit of despair.

Stay up an extra hour at night?  No problem.  But get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning?  No can do.

But I know that I cannot pursue my day without being connected to God, so I often find myself squeezing in a quick prayer in the car during the school run.

I’ve recently re-discovered a website designed to help people like me connect with God in the midst of the every-day of life.  Pray As You Go contains a daily reading from scripture and a short word to help kick-start a conversation with God.  Why not give it a try this Advent season?  Follow the link and click on today’s date, or download their app for your phone.


Dan Passerelli