Randy Bayne

Focus: Jesus

Graphic by Nathan Smith at Lightstock

If this post looks similar to my last post, it is, a little bit anyway. The time has come for me to write my annual Christmas post, and having done one a couple weeks ago I decided to use it as my template. Mostly because I really don’t know what is going to fall out of my head this morning.

Last year I wrote about the One Thing for a Merry Christmas. In that post I came up with this bit of wisdom.

“The one thing I’m thinking about that makes for a Merry Christmas is the “reason for the season,” Jesus.”

A year in review post might be appropriate. I did that in 2018. I enjoyed reviewing the year’s activity. This year, the pandemic has left me with not much to review.

  • Visited Del Mar, California in March just as the pandemic was getting serious and forcing shutdowns.
  • Contracted COVID-19.
  • Recovered from COVID-19.
  • Stayed home most of the summer.
  • Visited Hilton Head, SC for three days for my birthday.
  • More staying home.
  • Michael and Ashley visit for Christmas and New Year.
  • The End.

I suppose it was pretty amazing that we managed to get away twice during the pandemic. The spring trip to Del Mar was undertaken with the idea that if everything was shut down at least we were at the beach. It sounded more fun than it was, and we had to go to a plan “C” for Marcie’s birthday dinner. To top things off, I came back with COVID-19.

I’m fully recovered now. In case anyone is wondering.

The August trip to Hilton Head was for my birthday. We reserved a boat in the harbor via Airbnb and had a great 3-day stay distanced from people. Hilton Head had some pretty strict restrictions and mask requirements at the time.

Compared to others, the disruption in our 2020 was minor. Taking precautions, we were able to function close to normally.

Focus: Jesus

Over the last few years I have watched a drift away from the preeminence of Christ. We seem more focused on other things. What those things are is not the subject of this post, and we all know what they are. That we have lost focus on Christ Jesus is, I think, clearly obvious to most of us.

Speaking for myself, this year has helped me to see just how removed we are from Jesus. I have watched as disagreement over the pandemic and the election have divided people across the country. Maybe that is why the Sovereign Lord has seen fit to allow the COVID pandemic to invade our world; to upset our normal and derail our routine. Partially anyway. Who knows? His ways are beyond my ability to understand.

Guess what? I’m okay with that.

Grinch - Maybe Christmas

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, “Maybe 2020 was meant to be our Grinch. Except in this version of the story, it is our hearts which grow three times bigger, not the Grinch’s.” The Grinch of 2020 simply revealed to us some things about ourselves.

It is just a thought. A thought that encompasses much more than Christmas.

Our lives have been disrupted. Not necessarily a bad thing. The disruption has, for many of us, caused us to reset our minds and our hearts and look at everything differently. Daily routines are no longer so routine. At the very least the routine has changed.

Things that were important, are now less important.

Things that were not important, are now more important.

Jesus was a disruption that forced change on the world. When he was born more than 2000 years ago everything from that point forward was affected. He is still a disruption, a force of change, for many today.

So, let’s allow this disruption. Focus on Jesus. He is the reason we celebrate this season. Let’s allow him to disrupt what we have been experiencing the last several months and end the year seeking His kingdom, rather than our own or the one we think everyone else wants to force on us.

When Jesus was born He was a disruption that forced change on the world. He is still a disruption, a force of change, for many today.

I am reminded of the chorus of a hymn the church used to regularly sing. It was written in 1922 by Isabella Lilias Trotter, and seems very appropriate as we close out 2020.

Turn you eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace


I hope you will take the time to drop me an email, or leave a comment. I would love to get your thoughts and discuss this more.

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