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A Break and Looking Forward

By Joe Palekas

Good day dear readers -

You know, writing a blog post is hard work. I wouldn’t know, because this is my first entry in the Capital Fellows blog. Every person who has gone before me has written a post that is somehow simultaneously profound and accessible. Often the blog has a dash of humor, even! As I was mentally preparing myself to write this, I found myself wanting to make it light and fun and then I spoke with our lovely assistant director, Lauren (pronounced LAW-ren), and she informed me that it MUST be at least a little serious. So, what you have before you is a mutt, a hybrid, a Frankenstein of a post.

Thanksgiving was a much-needed respite. Being a Capital Fellow is hard work! We are always busy, but busy with very good things. The week of Thanksgiving saw most of us off to spend a few days with family, some stayed back and were graciously welcomed by members of the McLean Presbyterian community. One lucky Fellow even got ENGAGED over Thanksgiving! Hats off to Matt and many happy wishes to him and Madi as they prepare to embark on a new chapter of life together.

The end of Thanksgiving, though, means one thing. Christmas season is finally upon us. Christmas music is in full swing and on full blast in my car as I drive to and fro and back again across Northern Virginia. And it’s a wonderful thing. For the first time this year, I find myself more deeply reflecting on the reality of the Incarnation. Big word! It is breathtaking to me, the concept that the God of the universe, the Creator King, took on flesh and became like us. The hands that have the strength to fashion the mountains became the hands of a baby, gently gripping his mom’s finger from a cradle of hay.

We’ve talked about this God Incarnate a lot in the Capital Fellows program. Our very first Sunday at McLean Pres ended with a sermon by James about “Touching Jesus.” In it, he spoke very soberly of the fact that Jesus had to come in a form that we could kill. I hope you’ll let that sink in for a moment after reading that.

This idea, this reality of a physical Jesus has far-reaching consequences in my relationship with Him. I often turn to Colossians 1:15-23 when I reflect on the power of Jesus. Toward the end, it says something really profound, regarding the Incarnation.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.

It was Christ’s very man-ness that allowed reconciliation to occur. The veil, yes, his very flesh, is torn and we are reconciled to Him! I know, a gruesome picture as we look with eagerness to Christmas with a cute baby Jesus lying in the manger. But it’s this very image I want us to remember as we stare at the babe. Look earlier in the passage I quoted. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… For nine months, the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in the womb of a teenager. For two years (give or take, not sure how long a “baby” is a “baby), the very fullness of God was pleased to dwell in a helpless babe. And at what appeared to be the end, the very fullness of God was pleased to dwell in the broken body of a man, dying on a cross. For three days, the body of Jesus lay in the grave. And on the third day, the fullness of God could no longer be contained by death and He burst forth, promising new life for all who know Him.

This Advent season, join me, if you will, meditating on the fullness of God in the womb of Mary. And let us rejoice with much singing as we wait to one day see again the fullness of God welcoming us home with holes in his hands.

Pictures from the Week

Capital Fellows Leadership Development Program
Fellow Matt and honorary Fellow Madi! They're ENGAGED!! HOORAY!!

Capital Fellows Leadership Development Program
Caroline and Jay balled out for their Roundtable meal and we all got to enjoy some TRUE Memphis BBQ! I was told it was delicious. Unfortunately, I was in Columbia, SC battling strep throat.

Capital Fellows Leadership Development Program
The Vanderkwaak clan picking out a Christmas tree and getting excited for the Iron Bowl! Can't really tell who they were rooting for though.

Capital Fellows Leadership Development Program
Wednesday night the Phillips family were gracious enough to host the Fellows who interact with their kids on a weekly basis! Russell, Joe, Emily, Meekhol (she lives with them!), and Kat were #blessed enough to make the cut!

This is my family on Thanksgiving! I was lucky enough to return home to Columbia, SC and enjoy time with my parents, my sister, my brother, and his husband

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