This is the week many has been waiting for! Excitement builds as Black Friday deals become Black Week deals and get dealier and dealier with each passing day. Got to get the best buy’s, got to get the latest toys, got to get the right gifts for Christmas because Christmas is coming and it’s the next ‘most wonderful time of the year.’
We must get Christmas right.. the tree, the treats, the décor and the dining. Christmas is ‘Showtime.’ It’s ‘Go-Time.’ It’s good host time, and host time takes prep time and prep time means busy time. Busy, busy, busy… the busier I am the better it will be.
We gather for the chaos, we feast beyond surfeit, we give gifts to one another though we have plenty already. It is the birthday of the Great King!
Outside some still tremble in the cold. A prisoner sits lonely in his cell. A widow stares out at falling snow. It is her first Christmas without him. Month-end draws near for the lady in unit 6 as she mashes banana on thinly peanut buttered, week-old bread. Christmas dinner tonight will be just as the last 5 were. In the alley nearby a coatless man stuffs more discarded newspaper down his shirt… feeble insulation against the harsh night to come.
Of Jesus John wrote “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11). Speaks God through Jeremiah. “My people have forgotten me, days without number.” (Jer. 2:31-32).
Isaiah describes what sort of man this Christ is:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53:2-3).
Read the first four paragraphs again. For whose enjoyment is the tree, the treats, the décor and the dining? To whom are the extravagant gifts given? Is it the One Whose birth is celebrated? Where is He in the first three paragraphs? Is He there? What about the fourth? Do you see Him?
Jesus spoke of the folk in paragraph four. He said “Whatever you did / did not do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did / did not do for me.” (Matt. 25:40 / 45). Read the whole section, v.31-46. What does the Spirit of Christmas look like to Jesus?
But before we can do any of these things in honesty, in the Spirit and not in the flesh, we must open to Him every room in our bodies, and minds, and hearts. We are His temple, His dwelling. The whole house is His.
Let us leave the chaos with all its distraction and walk with reverence into the barn, the lowly places. Let us not hide our faces from Him, nor paint them with hypocrisy. Let us give to Him, the one gift we have power to give or to withhold – the gift of our complete selves.
To hear Don Longworth’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Nov. 24 message.