December 25, 2010 – Christmas Day
Usually one thinks of New Year's as the time for new beginnings but I want you to think of today as a time of new beginnings. Jesus came to make a new covenant with us and to make us new before God. I think that's the best gift of all. Think of all the gifts that you have been given (think hard, there are many that you may have forgotten). Whatever your problems or trials, you are still loved and blessed – I can say that after all that we have been through this year. I pray for you and yours a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.
What will you do now as you begin living again?
Father, renew us, refresh us! Let the Light of Christmas and of Jesus shine into our lives and let us feel the Presence of You Spirit as we begin life in a new way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
December 24, 2010 – Christmas Eve: Fulfillment
Scripture: Luke 2: 25-32
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Do you still anticipate Christmas? I just saw a picture on Facebook of a friend's grand-daughter who is so excited that she got up early TODAY. But what happens when the waiting becomes to long. Simeon and Anna, and in fact all of Israel, had waited a long time – nearly a whole lifetime (and I get antsy about waiting on God's promises for just one day!).
Jesus is the Fulfillment of all of God's promises. Every gift I have written about is found most fully in the person Jesus and in His being our Savior, King, and Priest. Most of the Christmas movies point to some part of our lives where we are missing something – a "God-shaped hole" I have heard it called. Jesus fills that need (and most of the movies don't tell you that).
Yes, I still anticipate Christmas – it reminds of the One who came and is coming again. He will fulfill all His promises.
What are you anticipating or waiting for this Christmas? Will you find it?
Father, the time is coming very soon for Christmas Day. We celebrate the coming of Your Son and we wait with anxious hearts for Him to come again. I pray that everyone can know the fulfillment that Jesus brings. In the Name of the Messiah, Jesus. Amen.
December 23, 2010: Joy
Scripture: Luke 2:9-11 (KJV)
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
"Joy to the World!", "Comfort and Joy", "Love and joy come to you", "O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant". The carols and songs of Christmas speak of joy. But what is joy? Too many times I think we put joy and happiness into the same bucket and think they are one and the same. But happiness is based on circumstances and is fleeting; joy is in spite of the circumstances and lasts. You can be joyful in the midst of troubles. It is not turning a blind eye your problems but looking past your problems and seeing what is really there. It's an attitude of gratitude that keeps us connected to joy.
Jesus came to be our Saviour. The angels tell of good tidings of great joy. The first Christmas was not some beautiful Christmas card worthy scene but real life in the living and that what Jesus came to live in – real life, our life, with all of the pain and ugliness that we can bring to it. Yes, this is a season of joy but many find nothing but sadness – I am very much aware that in the Pierce Family's joy for Dad's new gift of life is a touch of the pain that another family is feeling in the loss of a loved one (and I hope that their joy can be found in the giving of this almost unspeakable gift!). In spite of the problems we have as individuals, families, and nations, we can find joy. We can find the One who came to bring us joy just as the shepherds and wise men did long ago.
What keeps you from being joyful? What causes you to see joy?
Father, let us hear again in our hearts the message of the angel of the Lord and let the good tidings warm our hearts this Christmas. In spite of what we see or even know, help us to find joy. In the name of Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring. Amen.