Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

The birth captures our attention

Posted on 01 Dec 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The birth captures our attention

Great to be back after an enjoyable week off with family, friends, food, and football.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the time in the church when we celebrate them announcement and birth of the coming King and the inauguration of God breaking into humanity and drawing us back to him.

Our Advent Banner

Our Advent Banner

Last year, our theme was ‘waiting‘, and it was a look at the ways in which God’s people were waiting and longing for him.

This year, we have a building theme that focuses on the four key narratives that happen during the birth stories of Jesus.

Here are the four weeks we are focusing on:

The birth of Jesus captures our attention. Texts: Matthew 2:1-12 and Luke 2:8-20.

The birth of Jesus challenges authority. Text: Matthew 2:16-18.

The birth of Jesus changes attitudes. Text: Luke 1:67-80.

The birth of Jesus commands action. Texts: Matthew 1:18-26 and Luke 1:46-55.

The birth of Jesus calls all of us. Text: Luke 2:21-40.


This week, our focus was on how the birth of Jesus needs to capture our attention. The problem, is that it’s an age old story that we hear all the time. Every year in December, we talk about the birth of Jesus. It rarely moves us because we hear it so often; we’ve inoculated ourselves to the Good News of Jesus’ birth.

And that’s why I think we need to work harder to let our mind be filled with the mystical and magical essence of God-become-man. Precisely because it’s easy to miss, means it something that deserves special attention. This isn’t just a story or narrative to the holiday season, it is the story and narrative of the Christmas season. In the birth of Jesus and the inauguration of his kingdom, we find what our hearts and souls have been aching for. Through every turkey coma and Black Friday newsprint, we’ve still found ourselves lost and afraid.

Afraid to be alone.

Afraid to do nothing.

Afraid to be silent or be still.

Afraid of what haunts us.

So we busy ourselves with the false belief of holiday necessities. We plot, plan, party, and preoccupy ourselves with gifts, gadgets, and gatherings. We treat it like the job that asks us to multitask. We do as many things as possible to survive the holiday season, all the while missing the one thing that truly matters.

But we must stop tricking ourselves. It’s neurologically impossible to multitask. Studies have shown it, authors have written about it, people have proven it. The truth, is that you switch back and forth from one task to the other with extreme distraction and ineptitude. The more you multitask, the more you make yourself irrelevant at work.

And the same is true with the Christmas/holiday rush. The more we attempt to fill our lives with the accompanying stuff of the Christmas season, the easier it is to miss the one thing that really matters.

In order for our hearts to find rest and peace, we must let the birth of Jesus capture our sole attention.

The Magi were watching and waiting for something, and were willing to go to great distances to find it. They were enamored with the announcement of a new king, and Matthew’s Gospel that ends with the call to go to the {Gentiles} to make disciples, opens with the story of Gentiles who already knew what was going on that lots of other people missed.

The Shepherds were watching their flocks when the announcement came to them, and they hurried as quickly as they could to find the fulfillment of the promise they were given. The announcement to poor and outcast shepherds as the chosen emissaries shows that God’s kingdom is Good News for anyone who is poor, outcast, or looked down on.


The irony is that we’ve done precisely the opposite of what the Gospel accounts urge us to do. We’ve filled and busied our lives with noise and distractions looking for meaning, but finding none.

The birth of Jesus gives hope to anyone who has struggled, been beat down, or been left out. Whatever ails you, wherever you struggle, however you falter or fail, if you let the birth of Jesus capture your attention, you find hope in the one who promises an easy burden and a light yoke.


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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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