Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mid-Week Message - What I Want For Christmas

"And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them."  Luke 2:6-7 (NLT)

Christmas is less than a week away.  It seems to have come so quickly this year!  I'm sure there are millions of children that would argue with me over that.  I remember being a child and waiting for this most fabulous day.  It did seem to take forever then.  Being an adult changes so much.  But I like to think back on those days and remember, not only my own young anticipation but that of my daughter as well.  Can you remember?  One of the things that took place in school was writing a paper on "What I Want for Christmas."  I guess teachers knew it was all we were thinking about anyway so we might as well use those thoughts for a little creative writing assignment.  If you are a fan of the movie "A Christmas Story" then you may associate this with Ralphie's Christmas theme.

Since I am now the one that does the buying and wrapping of the presents, the anticipation is a little different but still very real.  It is such a joy to watch my daughter unwrap her gifts.  I always get her some things that she needs but try hard to make sure there are some items that are just for pure enjoyment.  So now our tree stands with presents beneath, waiting for Christmas morning when the paper will be removed and the gifts will be revealed.  How I hope they bring the joy that I intended when I chose them.  

As for me and what I want for Christmas, well, mostly I want my family to be happy.  I want for their lives to be fulfilling and for them to be content enough to not have any regrets but not so content that they stop reaching for whatever God still has for their futures.  For my husband and my child I wish for a deep and abiding love of their Lord and Savior and for them to always walk in His footsteps.  And for myself, I long to feel His presence and am just grateful that He never lets go of my hand.

When I read the scriptures that give account of the birth of Jesus I find myself in total awe and I close my eyes and place myself there beside the manger.  Mary was able to cradle the great I AM in her arms.  Oh, what that must have been like.  This first gift of Christmas, this tiny newborn infant, was looked upon by animals and shepherds.  He didn't arrive wrapped in bright paper with ribbons and bows to be placed beneath a sparkling Christmas tree.  Instead, He was heralded by angels and drew wise men to His side by a star unlike any other.  This tiny King had no palace but rather a stable where He was laid in hay.  His wore no fine robe.  Why, He didn't even have a nice soft baby blanket.  He was swaddled in strips of cloth. Yet, I can think of no more noble birth ever.  

Next week, as we gather with our families to open presents, can we just stop briefly to remember that first gift?  It is because of Him that we have this meaningful time.  Had he not left His place beside His father and taken on human form on earth, there would be nothing to celebrate.  Because He did we have the assurance of redemption and eternal life beside Him.  If I were to write an essay on what I want for Christmas, it would simply say, "More of Jesus" because there is nothing on this earth that could ever outweigh my desire for Him.  

I pray that each of you has a very Merry Christmas and that you are enveloped by His love.  No matter what you may be going through, His grace IS sufficient and He will walk every road you face beside you.  Never let go of His hand and keep your eyes and mind firmly set on the King of Kings, the Lord of All, the tiny baby who came to give His life for you.  God bless.   

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