Posted on December 13, 2016
Jesus appeased the ardent anticipation of our hearts. The questions have been answered. The gaps have been filled. Hope is available for the world to receive. “Emmanuel” explains how God came for us, is here with us, and is coming back for us through Jesus.
Sometimes it’s a blessing to go unnoticed. Jesus knew the peace woven into the observatory silence of slipping through a crowd or standing at the back of a room. But though He was not an audience seeker, they followed and gathered by the droves to be in His presence.
“He could not be hid; for, though a candle may be put under a bushel, the sun cannot.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary
The celebratory countdown to Christmas isn’t meant to spotlight our generosity, but His. When I feel hurried by my self-created hustle I linger a little longer in His presence …which isn’t a problem when you have no less than five Advent countdowns do maintain each day until Christmas. It’s a lot much, you can think it. I know it. But, I love it. The best way to lose your Christmas spirit is to make it all about what were getting and giving. Focus on the right “present” ignites the Spirit of Christmas.
present- something presented. -Merriam-Webster
presence- the part of space within one’s immediate vicinity. -Merriam Webster
How many Christmas presents to we forget about, exchange, or get rid of each year? Christ’s presence is always applicable to our lives and within our lives …if we’ll only just open it. Emmanuel …God with us.
“Briiiiiiii!!!!!!!” my youngest wailed. “You got a Lego Girl the last time you opened up a square …that’s NOT FAIR!!!!”
Watching my girls fight over an Advent gift I’d given them to share put the “never-enough”nature of humanity on display. In the thick of presents about to hit many homes; and the dread of those who don’t have gifts to give; it’s vital to pull the true light of Christmas into focus.
“The first of many” verses that connect the Old Testament with the new, the above in particular fulfilled a verse written approximately 800 years earlier! The treasures tucked inside these verses danced together the over eight centuries between them, until God whisper, “it’s time.” Somewhere around 740-680 BC, Isaiah, who’s name means means “the Lord saves” penned,
Matthew, who’s name means “gift of the Lord,” recorded his words within 50-70 AD:
How does the Lord save? Through the gift of the Lord. Jesus.
We’re not always assured the final witness to inspired words, as a sign normally fulfilled within a few years taking 800 unravels the scope of God’s timing. Isaiah’s words warned the stubborn king Ahaz (the great-great-grandson of King Saul-New International Encyclopedia of Bible Characters), but “he would not ask a sign for the confirming of his faith because he resolved to persist in his unbelief, and would indulge his doubts and distrusts…” Matthew Henry Commentary.
Does it feel off-putting to revolve an entire season around hunting down doorbusters and toys your kid didn’t even know existed before the catalog hit the mailbox? Beyond ancestral traditions and surrounding customs, we must own our truth as individually and honestly as Creator of our soul observes.
“Despite the insistence of the Pharisees, despite the Roman system and even despite the pressure of family, a person must accept God on his terms. ” -NIV Study Bible Notes
Is it just a story? Was He just a man? Our minds will remain elusively angst until we put down the proof and unlock our hearts. We’re not so hidden away while we decide what to do. He sees because He is, and He is here now. Presents don’t fulfill human hearts; souls are satisfied by the presence of Jesus.
God’s gift is ready to bless us upon opening. Grace waits because He knows us. Jesus is enough for all of us. Are you seeking Christ this Christmas? Simply let go and believe.
He’s already here. Jesus. Savior. Emmanuel.
Posted on December 7, 2016
1. A Christmas carol. 2. (capitalized) Christmas. (Merriam-Webster)
Another name for Christmas. French Noël (“Christmas season”), may come from the Old French nael. This, in turn, is derived from the Latin natalis, meaning “birth.” Wikipedia
” Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11
My neighbor gave me a Christmas Cactus last year, which she told me only blooms at Christmas-time. I wanted to see if I could keep it alive until it was time for it to bloom again. So, I forgot to water it most of the winter, re-potted it in the spring, and continued to forget to water it the rest of the year.
Beyond my ability to care for it, it survived. The first week of the Advent (Christmas) season, it began to flower. It’s in a pot …on my desk …in Ohio …and it’s a cactus. But God said, “it’s time.”
Time: an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end. (Merriam-Webster, 3B)
Behind every human being is a baby in a womb that God’s hand began to the tune, “it’s time.” We can trust the Author of Life, and the proof is Jesus. That day in the town of David, God said, “it’s time,” and born was the Savior of the world, a vulnerable baby boy who needed to be held and nurtured and loved. Born to hold, nurture, and love us for all time. Noel …a birthday.
“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:10-13
My first visit to a new optometrist revealed a change in my vision. He prescribed a pair of glasses to combat the glare of the computer screen and the sunshine. Each morning, I faithfully clean and prepare them for the day with special cloth and spray. Its worth it to me. I appreciate the view. Guess what? They’re shatterproof, too. My new vision is as
protected as it could possibly be.
When Zechariah lost his ability to see God clearly, he lost his speech along with it. He doubted the vision he saw. He questioned the message. At his son’s birth, his speech was restored. Jesus restored our hope with His. Might something we were previously unaware of be blocking Him from our vision?
The b-side of birth lies beyond God’s creation of our physicality. He built the possibility of hope into our DNA. A gift of grace allowed by the sacrifice of that baby boy born in the town of David. The opportunity to break free and follow Him home. The power of purpose as our feet tread the dirt of this Earth. When Christ is our personal Savior, the silence is lifted from our souls and our vision realigned …like getting new glasses. In a fresh hug of friendship defined, we are born …again.
“Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel …born is the King of Israel.”
“Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel …born is the King of Israel.”
-The First Noel Christmas Carol
Sing in celebration that Jesus was born to save us. It’s not just any birthday celebration. Christmas is the love of the Father and peace of the Son that transcends the encapsulation of time.
birth: the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent (Merriam-Webster.)
God said, “it’s time,” and like the wind blows when He says and the seas calm at His hand, Heaven came to earth embodied in His Son. And we not only get to partake in this love story …we are the center of it. Can you see it?
Noel. Emerge. It’s time.
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