Everyday Can Be Like a Holiday
“Everyday can be like a holiday.” That is this years seasonal Christmas slogan posted in Starbucks. I think they might be on to something. As I hold my peppermint hot chocolate, topped with cool whip, and coco powder sprinkled over the top and it is FREEZING outside. Inside, content, I smile and think, ‘yes, yes it can.‘ Often we consider the season of Christmas to be the day after Thanksgiving, and lasting until New Years Eve. After that, the tree is taken down, the ornaments boxed up, the outdoor lawn reindeer stored in the garage rafters. Christmas a fleeting memory.
YET, the message of Christmas CAN be seen, felt and shared throughout the year. My favorite rendition of the Christmas story is documented in Luke chapter 2. I paraphrase: Mary and Joseph head to Bethlehem, as they check in at the lobby of the Inn, they are directed out back to their accommodations. I think the email memo for a Kingly setting must have failed to deliver. They quickly settle in. A dingy stable, with no fine linens, NOT fit for a King, but more for a humble servant. While the Savior was being born, a baby announcement was being declared in the sky.
We now eaves drop on the shepherds, while they were at work, ‘watching their flocks by night.‘ The angel appears and says… (the quick to the point version) “Dudes don’t be afraid, I bring you good news… today… a Savior… He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you… ” WOW!
I find it fascinating, that the angel addresses their fear, do you know how many times in the Bible man is admonished NOT to be afraid? Many! After the fear factor was addressed, the presentation of ‘good news’ was given, the choir sang, and service was over. I wonder… if our pastors approached the pulpit, and opened their sermons with ‘FEAR NOT’ would we pay just a tad bit more attention? (just kidding).
Yet, the message is clear, think of our day to day routines. We face many obstacles, stress keeps our focus captive, and we just go about our business. What if ~ (humor me) JESUS comes to us, saying “Don’t be afraid, TODAY, I Christ the Lord, YOUR Savior … here’s YOUR sign…”
I love the word ‘sign’ in the Greek, (actually used 77 times in the NT). One scholar defines it as “A miracle by which the power and presence of God is manifested” Notice it doesn’t declare how big or small the manifestation. Sign, a distinguishing mark noting significance. Do we see these? Do we LOOK for Jesus to manifest Himself before us? Is He there? Tenderly, I declare HE IS. He walks along side us, pointing, “here see this, see … ME! THIS is for YOU! ” It may be a gentle whisper you hear in the breeze, a wondrous sunset, a wildflower brilliant with color. Or a check in the mail, JUST when you need it. Your car starting after sitting in the snow dormant for a few days. Coincident? NO!
FEAR NOT! TODAY! I, CHRIST am here!
This year, may we take the Christmas message beyond the borders of the calendar setting… Jesus here NOW, with us! May we too see the ‘sign’, the confirmation of divine authority all around us! Yielding to the manifestation. O Jesus, open our eyes, our ears, that we too would do as the shepherds did “When they has seen Him, they spread the word…” (v. 17) God is good.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 “You thrill me, LORD…”)