“So it was, when the angels, had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another ‘Let is 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. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.” Luke 2:15-18
Are you ready for Christmas?
That question is heard all through the month of December. We check tasks off our list—shopping, decorating, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, sending cards. Then, ready or not, Christmas comes and goes. We spend so much time and money in preparation, and it goes by so quickly, usually with lots of unmet expectations if not disappointments.
Christ gets lost in Christmas, even by those of us who call ourselves Christians.
Just as when Jesus came to earth, no one expected the Messiah to be born in a cave where lambs fed and slept. The last people that expected to be told about the newborn Savior were the lowly, socially-unacceptable shepherds. Those well-trained in the scriptures were too blind to recognize the fulfillment of the prophecies they studied.
God’s ways are not ours. His kingdom norms are so different from those of our world and culture. Jesus came to this earth, leaving heaven and perfection and majesty to reunite us in relationship with our Father. Max Lucado compared Jesus birth to as if he would choose to become a grey squirrel that lived outside his office window, giving up his warm, comfortable home, the plentiful food, his intellect and intelligence and family.
And how do we receive Him? With joy and gratitude and awe?
One of my favorite carols is Joy to the World. A verse says, “while fields and floods; rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy!”
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Pharisees told Him to tell His disciples to be quiet. Jesus replied, “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:40.
Nature understands the great gift of the Savior more clearly than we do at times. If we fail to appreciate and honor the Lord, even the inanimate rocks and hills will proclaim His glory.
What about you? Are you ready for Christmas? Have you prepared your life as a living sacrifice for the greatest gift of all? Are you ready to face your Savior when He comes again?
Or will you safely tuck Jesus away like a precious ornament, return it to the basement and forget about Him until next Christmas?
Jesus came so that we might have life, eternal life and relationship with Him. Accept the gift.
Dear Jesus, we love you so much. Our human minds can’t even begin to appreciate the glory that You left to come among us. We thank you so much for your light that the darkness cannot overcome. Help us be like the shepherds who were curious and obedient to come to Your side at your birth. Help us to accept Your awesome, amazing gift. Help us to spread the joy and excitement of Immanuel, God with us. Amen.