I love the Christmas season! The countdown for Christmas is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I wanted to take a moment and really think concentrate on what this time of year really means. What is the Christmas season really all about?
The countdown to Christmas is often called the Advent. But what does that mean? “Advent” means “arrival,” usually referring to an important thing or event. At Christmas time we are awaiting the “arrival of Christ!” Knowing that, it makes me even more excited to celebrate the Advent!
This is the time to ready our hearts and home for Christ. It is time to celebrate with friends and family, but also a time to quiet our hearts for repentance, examination and introspection. Christmas and the celebration of the Advent is a time like no other where we can truly find rest in Jesus, quietly alone and with others.
Isaiah 7:14 -- “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”
The prophets of the Old Testament foretold the coming of the Messiah over and over again. God promised a Savior, a King and a way out of the oppression the people faced. The Old Testament prophecies gave hope to His people then and assurance to us now. God does what he says he will do and he will continue to.
Micah 5:2-4 --
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
one whose origins are from the distant past.
3 The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
will return from exile to their own land.
4 And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
Micah was writing during war torn Israel, a time where hope often felt lost to anyone. But He speaks of a Savior to be born in the small town of Bethlehem that would restore God’s people. Micah wrote to warn the people about the judgment waiting if they did not turn back to God, but also of God’s love and justice for us all. Even through the troubles of the time there was hope, a hope in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Luke 2:7 -- “She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords had a very humble beginning. He was born in a stable because there was no where else for him to go. I was wrapped in the spare cloth they had on hand. He shared a room with horses, donkeys and sheep. He had his mother Mary and his worldly father Joseph to welcome him into the world. He was joined with others who saw and followed the signs: the shepherds, the Wise Men and the angels. Yes, it was a humble beginning for our Lord just as it would be a humbling life and a humbling exit. However, Jesus did not come to be a part of the world, he came to save it.
John 3:16 -- “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Through humble beginning he came, but Christ grew and fulfilled His Father’s purpose -- He saved God’s people. He shed His blood on the cross to overcome the sins of the world. Anyone who believes and gives their lives over to Christ will have eternal life in Heaven with our Heavenly Father. Now that is Good News!
Christmas is not about stressing over gifts and holiday lights. It is not about making everything perfect or trying to get everything done. During this inevitable busiest time of year we need to stop and remember what it is all about. It is about Jesus!
We honor his birth in this season, but the story doesn’t stop there. Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s entire life, His purpose and His sacrifice for all of us. By knowing Christ we can have peace and joy not only at Christmas Time, but also throughout the entire year! Christ loves us no matter what, the Advent is a good time, amongst the business, to remember that. By knowing Christ’s love we can share that love with others everyday.