So This is Christmas…

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So this is Christmas…
A popular Christmas sing reminds us that its the “…most wonderful time of the year” For most, that is. For many it’s quite the opposite. Loneliness settles in as a stark reminder of loved ones lost, children all grown up, and homesickness for yesteryear. Anxiety joins the party with the pressure of tight finances compounded by the compulsive obligation to check off that ever expanding gift list.
It’s all about focus. The world was worse off when the angels heralded the arrival of the Christ child 2000+ years ago. Life as they knew it was dark and dismal.. Oppression and depression reigned, the future was uncertain, and the God they had faithfully worshipped had apparently deserted them for over 400 years. Then everything changed… At the right moment God put into motion the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2 “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles…The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
“Joy to the world”? How would an infant born to a teenage bride in a manger hewn out of a cold stone wall cave in the back yard of a relative who could find no room for them inside bring joy and happiness?
It may have been a long wait, but the timing was perfect. God had not deserted them. He had been watching from a distance, and now it was time to come close. So close that he would put skin on and present himself through a couple of ordinary teenagers with an extraordinary entry. Had he come in the way of an earthly Monarch it would have been just another hope of a future liberator surrounded by the pomp and ceremony that would only increase the tax burden with no guarantees of any real change…
This had to be different…it had to bear the imprint of God! It had to be the ordinary embraced by the extraordinary. It had to get the attention of the known world. There could be no doubt about this one. All other hope had failed. It was time for the supernatural to become natural and walk among us…to “feel” us…to know every sorrow, pain, suffering and injustice and to fill us with hope in spite of it…hope that would transcend the fears of the moment and take our focus to another realm. This had to be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1,2: 5-7 “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress…in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles…The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
And there it is…the focus…not on the infant child in the cold rock straw lined crib in a Cattle Cave (how would that look on our Merry Christmas Cards?), but on the purpose behind the event. We cannot dwell on the manger and the little Lord Jesus without moving our focus from that peaceful scene to a Hill far away with an old rugged cross. The ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan. The salvation of all who would receive, for all eternity, regardless of wonder, or joy, or grief or loss…for many it’s NOT the “most wonderful time of the year” by our definition of wonderful, and yet in a marvelous way it is! It is the most wonderful time of the year not because you have to be cheery and happy and merry, but because you don’t. You can have heavy hearts, and demolished dreams, shattered spirits and festered wounds. And that’s right where Emmanuel, God with us…with you… comes close. To comfort you, to restore you, to strengthen you in your weakness, to give you peace in your chaos. To fight for you. To die for you! to walk out of the grave for you, to hold you in the fellowship of the saints with those you have loved and lost. To offer you life that lasts forever. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, for Christ is born! Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings! God is with us!”
Take a break from the busyness of this Christmas Season and reflect on that…swing wide the door of your heart and let Him be everything you need Him to be today and everyday.
And so Happy Christmas…

Category: Just Sayin'
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