Preparing for Christmas

3 12 2009

Hey guys,

So it’s the season of Advent.  The season to prepare for Christmas. 

What do you do when you’re preparing for something big?  Like a big event that you know is going to happen?  Or a big conversation you know you need to have with someone?  Or a right of passage or milestone in your life?  I know sometimes I get butterflies in my stomach and get nervous.  Or I run around like crazy trying to get everything done before I run out of time.  There’s a sense of urgency in the air…and a sense of expectancy.

There’s a really great Christmas carol by Charles Wesley called Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.  Listen to the words and reflect on the urgency and expectancy of Christmas.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

 Come, O Long-Expected Jesus

By Dr. Mary Manz Simon

This hymn is hard for me to sing.  The tune…is not particularly difficult.  The words are easy to pronounce.  It’s the image of the cross of Calvary, not the star of Bethlehem, that makes me uncomfortable.

 “Born to set your people free…by your death on Calvary” is a picture that’s easy to avoid during this pre-Christmas season.  Mary and Joseph with their Newborn is such a tender scene.  It’s so easy to focus on the baby Jesus as a precious, cuddly, tiny human being.  That’s the mental image I like to remember during these busy days.

 There’s more than the star of Bethlehem in Christ’s life.  The cross of Calvary waits.

That Child born of Mary will grow up, enjoy a brief adulthood, and then die.  But the cross soon will be empty, for Christ will rise.  Even as we anticipate the birth of Jesus, we think of the time when he will raise us to the glorious throne, in the words of this hymn.

 To Bethlehem and beyond, we travel this Advent.  We move toward Calvary, then even further, to an eternal home with Christ our Lord.


Are you preparing for Jesus’ arrival this Christmas with urgency and expectancy?

Do you feel the excitement of His love and joy in your life?

That’s what this season is about…remember?  Jesus Christ came to set you free because He loves you so much.  And He came to die on the cross at Calvary for you and for me.  Christmas leads to Easter.  You can’t have one without the other.  You are a child of God, set free by the blood of that baby born in Bethlehem.

But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

Gal. 4:4-7 (MSG)

Take a few moments to soak in the reality of God’s love for you today.

To the King!





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