Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Advent XXIV

Most of the nativity scenes we see put up before Christmas have all the characters standing except for one.  The last character to arrive in the contemporary manger scene portrayals is the main character.  The last one to arrive is traditionally placed in the scene on Christmas Eve.  Jesus. The child.  The One whose purpose was to save you and me and everyone else from their sin.  The One whose purpose was to change the world.  Jesus.  How strange it is that above all the names we know, His name is the name we are least likely to use in the normal conversations of our day.  We carry around pictures of our children and grandchildren and are quick to show them and talk about them.  There was a time when I carried a glossy business card size picture of Jesus in my wallet, but I seldom showed it to anyone like I did other pictures. 
We are strange creatures, are we not?   This One whose birth we remember in worship filled with carols, stories, and communion is made over like cake and ice cream this day; yet, given leftover treatment the rest of the time.  What we known in the inner core of our being is that there is no one like Him.  Without Him we are not fit to be in loving relationships with the most precious ones of our lives.  He is the One who has given us love and who has taught us how to strive forward in the loving relationships we hold so dear.  Without Him we would sell out our life to some trivial pursuit of life which grants temporary satisfaction, but gives no eternal peace and joy.  He is the One who believes in us and pushes us forward when everyone else is ready to let us go.
There are no end of things we can say about this Jesus, this child of the manger who was born long ago in Bethlehem to save us.  We can read the Christmas story once again from the gospel of Luke.  It is a great day for hearing those ancient and powerful words.  We can lift up voices with others in worship as we sing, "O, Come, All ye Faithful."   And, perhaps, we can simply sit somewhere quietly to say two distinct words.  One is ""Thank You, Jesus."   And the other?   "Yes, Jesus, Yes...once again come into my heart."

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