Considering Christmas 2020
Part 1- Preparing For The King
“As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:4-6
We have more to share about the Abrahamic Covenant and we will do so in the coming year. But for now through the New Year we will turn our focus to the events surrounding Christ’s birth as we celebrate Christmas.
There is a poignancy and profound sense of the life-affirming and restoring aspect of Christmas that have for centuries resonated in the hearts of people worldwide regardless of their particular religions or sectarian beliefs.
There is a deep abiding hope that comes to everyone to say that this is the time of year when we can all travel once again to Bethlehem as children and see the new born King who shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.
We can, with the shepherds and wise men, bear witness to a new hope, a new promise, a new expectation of good even in the midst of loss, of tragedy, of death, of poverty and want, of sickness and despair.
In the midst of a world weary of pandemics, of anarchy, of politics, divisions, strife and the hopelessness of a world torn apart by sin, the Christ Child comes, heralded by the angel saying “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great Joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” Luke 2:12-18
Many of us start preparing our houses for this season even before Thanksgiving or at least soon thereafter. The most organized among us make their Christmas plans well in advance of the day in order to make the most of the time to spend with friends and family and enjoy the many celebrations of the season in the days immediately leading up to Christmas. Decorating the house, trimming the tree, cooking family favorites, making sure there is plenty for expected and unexpected guests.
But do we spend a proportionate amount of time preparing our hearts to receive and embrace the gift that is the most important of all during this time?
The Christmas season as with all the feast days and convocations mentioned in the Old Testament and observed by Jesus and the disciple in the New were established as times to remember, to refresh and renew our hearts and minds and reconnect our souls in a deeper way with the source of our lives now and into the future.
We look back to gain the proper perspective to understand and rightly discern the things that are to come. What happened in the days leading up to the birth of Jesus? What can we learn from reviewing those events? And what can we pass along to the next generation that will enrich their lives and better equip them for the years to come?
This will be the focus of our study for the next few days — preparing our hearts for the coming of the King.
We begin with prayer.
Father God and Creator of all things, Blessed and Holy are You Lord God. Your name is Holy and Your kingdom shall rule over all the earth even as it is in Heaven. Let it be so Lord in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You for the gift of celebrations and times of remembrance. Thanks You for Your gracious and overwhelming love for us. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord, for His life, His teaching, His miracles, His signs and wonders, for every Word of prophecy He spoke that has and will come to pass in due time.
Thank You Father for family and friends, for little ones, for babes and children in whose hearts and mouths You have ordained praise.
In the midst of the world shaken by pandemic, by suffering, death, violence, anarchy and the irrational behavior of some who though charged with maintaining the systems by which we are blessed to live our lives in the pursuit of happiness, have nevertheless abandoned their charge and given themselves over to ruling as demigods rather than governing in submission to the Your wisdom from above.
In the midst of all this You call us once again to come unto You, all who are weary and heavy laden and You will give us rest. We desire that rest Lord, in the peace that passes all understanding. Please forgive us Lord for the futilely of seeking that rest in places, and from those where and from whom it can never be found.
Turn our hearts back to You now, to consider the Excellency of Your purpose and plan for our lives. Help us to prepare our hearts for this season of Christmas in deeper and more dynamic ways than ever before.
Fill us with a fresh empowering of Your Holy Spirit, and open the eyes of our understanding to know and to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height of Your Love.
Reveal to us the true meaning of Christmas and help us to share that effectively with others as we live out Your kingdom’s call on our lives. Be glorified in us now and forever. Amen and Amen.
Step one ‑ Clear out the clutter — forgive and remember it no more.