WEDNESDAY IN THE WORD December 13, 2023
“UNWRAPPING HIS CHRISTMAS PRESENCE”
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and you will call him Immanuel, God with us.”
Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)
As hosts, when we think about Christmas we focus on making everything perfect, even if it’s for those few hours we will spend with family and friends. We try to make sure that the meal, music and moments are just perfect, all the while hoping that we’ve chosen the perfect presents for everyone. But in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season during the gift giving amid the trappings and wrappings, we often times forget to “unwrap” the only perfect present. The perfect present is the “Presence of God.” He was sent to the earth in the form of a human child, born of a human mother, nurtured by a human father. Yet, he was “God Incarnate” sent by God the Father to save us from sin.
All of this was occurring during some of the darkest times in the then-known world, while the prophet Isaiah was prophesying to the people about the Good News which had come to pass. He said, “The people that walked in darkness had seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2a)
For us we might want to think of Christmas in a differeny way this year. As I thought about a different kind of Christmas, I looked at how it intersects with the seasons of nature. I mean we celebrate Christ’s birth during the winter season when we experience more darkness in the 24 hours of each day. It should remind us that God has entered into our “wintry darkness” of sin, depression, doubt, and disappointment. What we long for is Light, Joy, Peace, and Love. This was the promise from the beginning of time. To bring us the Hope of being with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit–three in one, now and into eternity.
When I think of Mary wrapping the Christ child in swaddling clothes, I envision us as Christians unwrapping his presence at Christmas and all year long by the way we choose to live.
I absolutely love the carols we sing at Christmas. This year I decided to take a closer look at the lyrics for a deeper meaning than I’ve had in the past. “O Come All Ye Faithful” struck me with the words “ADORE Him, Christ the Lord.” I chose to express it in the following acrostic:
A — Accept the Lord fully into my heart in places that have grown distant and resistant.
D — Decide to reverse the script of my life by saying “yes” Jesus move in, change me, rearrange me, and heal me.
O —Order my steps in your word towards foregiveness and away from bitterness.
R — Renew the right spirit and your beauty inside me by cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in me; give me the assurance of your love forever.
E — Even when circumstances beg me to grow cold, Lord help me to keep the flame of my first love for you burning so that others may see it and give glory to your holy name.
This year has been one full of extreme highs and lows for all of us. I hope these reminders soak into our hearts this Christmas. Let us unwrap the “Gift of God’s Presence” and not just on Christmas but each and every day. Let us seek to hear his voice speak to our hearts as we pay close attention so we can be led by his peace and perspective, while seeking his purpose in all of the plans for our lives.
Then we will experience the fullness of “Immanuel, God with us.”
May you each experience the love of Christ more than ever before in this season of gift giving; receive Him fully by inviting Him and his presence into your life. Amen.
Have a beautifully blessed Christimas from my family to yours,
Pastor Andrea (Andie)