Darkness and despair will not go on forever.
For we who walk in the darkness of this world have seen a great Light.
We may live in a land of deep darkness, but The Light is shining.
A child is born to us.
A son is given to us.
Justice rests on his shoulders.
He is called:
The Wise and Wonderful Counselor,
Our Mighty God,
Our Forever Father,
And our Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:1-7, my paraphrase
“All I want for Christmas is ….” I have all I need. I have the Gift that gives to me every day of the year. It never wears out. It never gets broken. It is my Savior and LORD, Jesus Christ. His birth speaks to me today.
He was born during a long journey. Joseph and Mary were making a 100-mile journey, because the Roman Caesar said they must take part in a census count. Mary was near her time to give birth. It is beyond comprehension to get the mental picture of what it must have been like to ride a donkey that distance and that pregnant!
My life may also have difficult journeys which may seem too difficult to attempt. And yet, I am never alone. Whatever the challenges in my life, God never leaves me alone and, if I am open to His voice, He will encourage and strengthen me for every step of every journey.
He was born, not in a palace, but in a stable. Jesus is the King of kings. There is no one on this earth greater than He! And yet He lives inside of me. He lives inside of me! Am I unworthy? Yes! Of course! But Jesus inside of me brings whatever is good, whatever is kind, whatever is gentle, whatever is gracious, whatever is merciful, and certainly whatever is patient! Jesus makes His “home” inside of me. Do I live like I have Jesus as my forever house guest?!
He was born through the labor of a woman. God knew the frailty of His creation called me. But He also knew that through His Spirit, I also have a strength that can bring forth a child, His miracle. Through His Spirit, I can bring Him to visit someone who is unsure He even exists. Sometimes that is a labor-intensive process. It may require years of quietly laboring to live my life in Him, a witness to others.
He was worshiped, not by kings, but by every day people. Caesar did not come to worship the child in the manger. The High Priest did not worship. Shepherds, smelly from their work and living outdoors as they tended their sheep, were the first to hear the good news from angels. They left their flock and came to a stable to kneel because they believed.
What happened to everyone? Mary and Joseph fled with Jesus to Egypt. They lived as aliens in a land foreign to their beliefs. We have no information on what happened to the three men from the East, except they returned to the East without sharing any information with Herod. I have to wonder if the shepherds never spoke of that night with anyone. Remember that Herod slaughtered every male child under the age of two! Some of the shepherds may have been fathers, grandfathers, or brothers to these babies. That might influence you not to share about your encounter with God-in-the-flesh at a manger! What will I do if someone asks me to choose between my life and my LORD? It may not be a life or death question but I surely do have choices to make every day regarding how I will spend my day. Will my day be about serving others or will it be about my comfort and my wants?!
In the next 48-72 hours we will probably all be singing Silent Night. Let us consider The Gift we have been given. It was free. It was a gift we could not buy for ourselves. Will we keep it beautiful and safely tucked away in a box? Will we take it out, examine it closely and daily and use it as the Giver wants us to do? It’s a Gift worth giving away to anyone and everyone we meet. “O Come! Let Us Adore Him!”