It’s that time of year. The boxes of stored Christmas decorations find their way from the storage unit, the extra bedroom closet, the garage, or maybe even the hideaway attic to become front and center in our homes. Cars zoom by on the freeway with the perfect Christmas tree tied on top and headed to find its new home for a season. The kitchen is a buzz as gingerbread houses and sugar cookies provide delightful Christmas aromas that float through the house promising a most delicious snack for the days to come. We love the music, movies, shopping, parties, plays, and planning that make it all happen, along with social media capturing the latest and greatest snapshots of the holiday season.
But what does it all mean? The big question of life rises up again as we find ourselves being absorbed into the culture, and at times, the tiny kingdom of ourselves.
They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and I believe it. I received this picture of my sweet grandson last Christmas, and the wonder in the sparkle of his eyes reminded me yet again of the pure joy of this time of year. The deep meaning of the birth of another child over 2,000 years ago is really what the holiday season means. In a lower level of a full inn, the place where the animals found refuge, in the tiny town of Bethlehem, the advent season of waiting ended for the chosen tribe of Israel and hope was born anew.
The waiting is over for us too. Advent brings us clearly to the beautiful truth that Jesus has come in the flesh, to be a man among all men, but yet remain God, the perfect sacrifice for our lostness. It is a truth that transcends our limited thinking, stirs the deepest chamber of our hearts and indeed changes everything – how we think, how we speak, how we love – and culminates in how we live in every moment.
Jesus loves us and leads us to live sacrificially, to die to ourselves, to love our neighbor, to give of our time, our resources and to use our gifts to show Him to be great. He sets our hearts towards His Father and we see with His eyes the sweetness of delighting in who God is and the mandate to worship Him in spirit and truth.
Yes it is Christmas and yes Jesus is here. His glory shines all around and His grace flows freely to those who believe and my friend, believing is the only way to really live.
Do you believe?
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”