Christmas is an exciting and very busy time of year, but also the perfect moment for reflection. I have always adored the season of Advent and the celebration of such by lighting candles and focusing on the meaning of Christmas. This year I was challenged a few weeks before Christmas by an Advent reading to not just get swept along with the chaos and distraction this season can bring, but to truly prepare my heart for Christmas. It took a few days before I had the time to spend quality time during devotions to explore this concept, but it was powerful.
Before the birth of Christ, the world was dark. Desperate. Longing for deliverance from anything and everything. There was no hope.
Imagine then the amazing moment when Jesus, our Saviour, the King above all kings, is born into the world! Is it any wonder the angels were bursting with the praise of God as they proclaimed the news to the shepherds? The Light had come! Hope was born! God loved us SO MUCH that He sent us His best, His only Son, and sent Him in the weakest form possible – a baby.
For this reason, because He came as a perfect baby, grew to a perfect man, lived on the Earth, was unfairly accused and abused, suffered and died for MY sin, and defeated Hell, Death, and the Grave, I can go to heaven forever when I die! Praise be to God!
I was more in awe of the miracle of Jesus than I ever have been before this year, and taking the time to prepare made all the difference. As I read through Isaiah and the many prophecies foretelling his birth, life, death, and resurrection, and as I read the “Christmas story” in Matthew and Luke, God’s amazing plan just blew me away. How much must He love us to give us His best, His one and only perfect son, and to pursue us over and over and over, despite our constant rejections?
Two other things stood out to me this year as well – the shepherds and the Wise Men.
Obedience. The shepherds were so obedient! When the angels told them to go and see the Saviour born in Bethlehem, they didn’t even hesitate! Granted some of that was probably due to seeing angels, but still… Am I as obedient as the shepherds when God tells me to do something? Do I share His message with others like the shepherds did after seeing Jesus?
Watchfulness. The wise men knew Jesus had been born, not because someone told them, but because they diligently studied the sky and were watching and waiting for the sign. When the star appeared, they knew exactly what it meant and were prepared to travel great distances to worship the newborn king. Am I as watchful for what God is doing in the world? Am I ready to act when I see the signs of God’s work and to do what He has called me to do?
I hope and pray that we all take time to reflect on what God gave us at Christmas, and then act on that gift as the obedient shepherds and the watchful wisemen did. Merry Christmas!