This Christmas season I have been paying particular attention to the amount of time and effort that goes into each facet of Christmas. Each gift, meal, travel schedule and decoration is a result of seemingly endless decision-making. Through all this preparation I started to ask myself, what are all these preparations for? Well, I understand it is the birth of Jesus, but in all my planning was I really preparing for Him? And if I was, did I understand what I am making preparations for?
Any attempt to define what I was preparing for with logical answers seemed inadequate. Yes, Jesus came to earth as our savior and that’s ultimately the most important thing, but I was looking for more than what a standard “Sunday School” answer would provide.
I have a good friend who lives in another state. When I see him I mentally prepare for his mannerisms, loud voice, and outlandish commentary. I also go into those times prepared to receive from his generous cooking and encouraging words. I am preparing less about having logistics in order for an event and more about the attributes of his character and personality.
In the same sense then, this Christmas season I am preparing, not just for Christmas day and all the celebrations it brings, but I am also preparing for the character and nature of who Jesus is. More than God in the flesh, what is it about Jesus that I should prepared for? I think it can all be summed up in the word promise. Jesus is the fulfillment of endless amounts of promises from the Lord that a savior would come. That alone is incredible and worth celebrating. Yet, when Jesus came to us as the fulfillment of promise he also brought with him new promises for us.
Love and eternal life in John 3:16, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him, should not perish but have eternal life.”
Authority and his presence in Matthew 28:16-20, “...all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, ...I am with you always to the end of the age.”
true freedom in John 8:31-36, “...if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free...so if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.”
Abundant and purposeful life John 10:10, “the thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Rest in Matthew 11:28-29, “come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
His promises of love, eternal life, authority and presence, true freedom, abundant and purposeful life, as well as rest, bring us hope this Christmas season. As you prepare for Christmas festivities, prepare your heart to receive these promises.