The First Coming
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that
she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn.
It’s Advent again – a time in the church for Christians to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world! We have four weeks to get ready for Christmas. We have four weeks to get all of the plans in place to do the things that need to be done in order for us to say, “we celebrated Christmas as we usually do!”
The challenge for us Christians in this increasingly dominant godless age is to “hear” the word of God in our hearts about a Saviour that has come and is coming again for us. We are so attached to i-pads, cell phones and other electronic devices to stay in touch with people and schedules. We dare not be out of touch! But rarely do we think that we might have lost touch or are losing touch with our God. It is not that He has hung up on us! It may not be an email or a text message but the Bible does have a clear message of God’s love for us. He weeps over our sinfulness. He comes to us to save us. He dies for us! But that is an “old message” we say in so many ways with our life. We want something new, contemporary, relevant to our day! The message we seek to live by, so often ends up trapping us in a sinful and godless way of life of our own making. The result is pain, sorrow, and emptiness.
Advent is a season that focuses our attention on a God who comes to rescue us from such worldly deceit and its emptiness so that we might be ready to celebrate the birth of our Saviour at Christmas and sing the great hymns of faith from the bottom of our heart.
I am sure that first Christmas Joseph didn’t understand it all, and wondered how it would all end, especially for his very miraculously pregnant young wife. Where is God when you need Him to help find a place for you and your wife to stay? Can God really be in this moment? What is the Lord trying to teach me? “I wish I knew how this was going to turn out,” Joseph might have said.” What more can I do?”
But then God acted and provided a stable to be the delivery room for the Saviour of the world. It was the shelter Mary and Joseph needed for such an intimate and anxious a time as the birth of a first child! Perhaps God’s provision of a simple stable for shelter to Mary and Joseph just in time can be a sign of hope for us who search for meaning to break into our lives from heaven this Advent and Christmas.
As our hearts remain open in prayer to our Father in heaven to touch our hearts with vision to see His working in our lives, the Holy Spirit will come through God’s Word. He will give us again the Gift of Christmas (Jesus) that we might be lifted in faith and find joy for life that rests in Him.
Then all of the things that can be disappointing in life, that suck away the hope we have in Christ, will be banished from our thinking as faith takes hold again and helps us sing, “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!’”
Jesus is born! He has come for you! In Him is the life you seek and all that you will ever need to live with meaning, purpose, hope and joy. God bless your discovery of the “stable” that God provides to you this Christmas to assure you of His promise, “I am with you always!”
Lord, renew our faith in You! Open our hearts this Advent season, to hear Your voice clearly calling us from slavery to sin, to the life that honours You and gives us true joy and happiness.
Blessed Advent preparations and Christmas celebrations.
May you be filled this Christmas with His love and grace,
~ Rev. Dr. Roger C. Ellis, Vacancy Pastor