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Friday, December 17, 2010

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Here we are again, in that same old familiar place. For the two thousand  sixteenth time. Right smack dab in the middle of Christmas. Ask ten people what they think about Christmas and you will get ten different ideas. Some will tell you how it's origins are from pagan holidays and why Christians should not observe it. Since the bible does not specifically teach us to celebrate Jesus's birth, they don't celebrate it. Others, will tell you, how it once was special but now it has been commercialized. Some despise it. Some hold it sacred and love it. Some don't know what they believe. Some say "I'll be glad when it is over".
 People will rush themselves, push
themselves, and wear themselves out. For all that Christmas is or isn't , was or wasn't, will or will not be, it is completely left up to the individual. The reason  is simple. Christmas, like many if not all spiritual celebrations, is a choice.
Choose Christmas to be a for Christ. God often changes man's intentions for His purposes.  Just as He changed the shameful design of man's cross from the cruelest of deaths to the ultimate symbol of  hope, and eternal life perhaps, He also changed the pagan holidays into Christmas and Easter.  Just as when He saved us, He changed you and I into a better reflection of Himself.  No matter the historical origin of the holiday, choose to celebrate the birth of your Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Although the bible does not require we celebrate Christ's birth it also does not forbid the practice. Jesus birth is recorded in the bible because it's important. If it was not meant for us to remember, would it have found it's way into the bible? The account of Christ birth does two incredible things at the same time.  It announces the arrival of a supernatural savior while documenting He was a man. The great creator sent angels from heaven to announce His birth, singing GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST! ON EARTH PEACE GOODWILL TO MEN, and we wonder should we celebrate?
 I find biblical peace with celebrating Christmas in Romans here for scripture  Celebrate it for replacing that old pagan holiday. Remember, Christmas is when the God of the universe, in His infinite wisdom, carried out the first phase of the largest rescue mission the world will ever see. Celebrate, the time our God came to ransom our souls. We have been bought by blood, heaven's joy, and pure love. He remembered his promises of old, and kept them. He always keeps his promises, celebrate. Rejoice, because for us, He left His throne in glory, for the womb of peasant girl, named Mary. Nine months before he lied between hay in  the manger, he had sat between the cherubs on the mercy seat. He traded being wrapped in light and rainbows for flesh and swaddling cloth. Christmas, is when our God, who carried all of us, decided to be carried by one of  us. Christmas was when Jehovah Jireh, the god who provides, took provisions from a man named Joseph. Christmas, you were just an ordinary night, until an extraordinary God made you shine forever with the light of Jesus. I can and will celebrate Christmas to the glory of God.
Are you ready for Christmas? In the south, it is a common question this time of year. The most common answer is "no." Another common answer is "about as ready as I am gonna be". Every once in a while, you will get a "yes" with a smile. We should always be ready for Christmas. We should be constantly, celebrating His coming into the world to save it. The real question is are you ready for Christ? Christmas, is a celebration of the beginning of forever. There is no resurrection without death, no death without a birth.  It is important to remember, that Jesus is no longer in the manger. Although many would have liked Him to remain there helplessly, the manger is empty. Bethlehem's star is no longer in the sky, but it still points the way to a brighter light. If you follow, it will lead you to a barren cross and empty tomb      vacated by a creator. If you follow Him, you, like the wise men, will take a different path. Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father, with all authority, pleading our case,  listening for His command to return. Then once again, He will fulfill God's promises. He will begin the final phase of the rescue mission. He will extract the troops then move to shock and awe.  Are you ready for Christmas? Will welcome his coming like the shepherds did over two millennia ago?  Are you one of the wise men who will risk it all to worship Him. He is ready to be with you. I am now standing at the door and am knocking. If any one listens to My voice and opens the door, I will go in to be with him and will feast with him, and he shall feast with Me. Revelation 3.20 

The truth is that first Christmas was the start of a celebration that never ended. Most people don't understand this because they think the Christmas story begins in second chapter of Luke or Matthew when it really begins in John chapter 1. Missions always have a plan and the manger was always in the shadow of the cross. The only question is what part will you play in the Christmas story?
Let every heart prepare Him room as we come to adore Him!
May love and joy come to you,
Merry Christmas,

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