(a guest post for Living Loved Today and Vine to Branches this coming week . . .)
During this season, I love driving along our street at night, seeing the glow of Christmas lights in the windows of each home. When the curtains are sheer enough, I get a glimpse into the warmth of family and joy of celebration taking place behind closed doors. Winter solstice is the darkest time of the year but sets the perfect backdrop against which those Christmas lights shine the brightest and bring us the greatest sense of comfort and hope.
As this very different Christmas season unfolds, I find myself thinking about “transparency” – those sheer, thin things that help us to see more clearly. What do I want to see this Christmas? What will help me see?
Without CHRIST there would be no Christmas. I want to see JESUS.
His gift in coming as our Savior is the greatest gift ever given. I want to welcome and acknowledge the gift of JESUS as my Savior.
GOD’s ultimate plan, foreshadowed through the ages, to purchase back His own sin-marred creatures through JESUS’ sacrificial blood on the cross is the greatest love story ever written. I want to tell HIS story!
What will help me see JESUS? What will help me welcome Him and rejoice in His coming? What will give me His story to tell?
In the chaos that often surrounds Christmas, could it be that my days need to be thinner? Do I need to slow the pace? Dare to choose quiet over crazy, even in a scaled-back year of quarantine? Be content with simple over extravagant? If I seek His leading, could the LORD show me how to celebrate His coming in a way that truly honors the CHRIST of Christmas and helps others around me to see HIM too?
The pages in my Bible are delicate and thin, yet they are precious. Could the “thinness” of my days allow more time for me to enjoy GOD’s love letter to me? As I read His story, big and small details become more visible and I discover truth!
You are to call Him JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.
Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.
I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly!
CHRIST JESUS came into the world to save sinners. … It is finished!
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever,
sat down at the right hand of GOD.
Matthew 1:21, Luke 2:19, John 10:10, I Timothy 1:15, John 19:31, Hebrews 1:3
GOD’s truth exposes how spiritually “thin” I am. Weary from too many fruitless efforts, I recognize my helplessness. GOD’s holiness demands a sinlessness that I can never produce. I begin to see how desperately I needed JESUS to come for me.
What Light to my dark soul to realize that, yes, He came for me! JESUS came to save me. Against the backdrop of my helplessness His completeness shines brightly. His work is finished! JESUS’ sacrifice for me is all-sufficient. JESUS came to save me because He is the only One who could!
During this season of celebration, I can get carried away. My festive efforts leave me feeling stretched and thin in a different way. I come face to face with my physical and emotional limitations. When I have nowhere else to turn, I cry out to the LORD to “rescue” our holidays. Those “thin” moments help me to rejoice in His coming from another angle.
JESUS came to SAVE me from the penalty of my sin, and He comes again and again to save me from those pressed-in, stressed-out places of every-day life by helping me to shift my focus from myself to HIM! He can show me what choices truly honor Him during this season, His best plan for how, when, and where to invest my time and energy. His version always includes rest, joy, and peace – a welcome trade for my tired, burdened struggle to “make magic happen!”
JESUS came to save me so He could be with me. Emmanuel! His Presence will lead me to the REST, joy, and peace He longs for me to find … in HIM.
JESUS came to save me so I could go to be with HIM.
He said, “I go to prepare a place for you…I will come back and take you to be with Me, so that you will always be with Me where I am” (John 14:3). The LORD’s Words of promise to me now build my anticipation of the forever home He is preparing for me.
JESUS came for me…JESUS died for me…but just as thrilling, JESUS will come again for me!
When the state of this world is wearing us thin, there is still cause for rejoicing! We find comfort in GOD’s presence and hope in His promises, His plans, and His faithfulness. Against the darkness of a sin-cursed world, His Light shines brightest and His Words of truth dawn upon us. From every page of His story, His love letter sends us the ability to rest… in HIM. That’s peace!
One day the clouds will “thin” to show us His coming again! Our heavenly home will be ready and He will take us to be with Him, to enjoy the warmth of GOD’s family and the joy of eternal celebration. For now, we will watch with hope-filled eyes, and grow ever more thankful that JESUS came for us! JESUS died for us! And JESUS will come again for us!
May we see CHRIST this Christmas. May we welcome and acknowledge Him as our Savior. May we REJOICE in His coming and take every opportunity this Christmas to tell His story!