I was riding in the car the day after Thanksgiving and the song by Alvin and the Chipmunks came on the radio that says:
“Christmas, Christmas time is here
Time for joy and time for cheer.” As I listened to the song and joyfully sang along, I began to reflect on the Christmas season. We welcome the Christmas season with decorations, busy shopping malls and Hallmark Christmas movies. It is a time where families celebrate traditions of putting up trees and buying gifts. We exchange gifts and pleasantries and wait until December 25th to pull the gifts from under the tree to see what our loved ones have bought us, and we look in expectation and sheer delight as our loved ones open gifts we have bought for them, hoping that they will like them.
Outwardly, we prepare in so many ways for Christmas. Yet for the believer, this time is Advent season and it is a time when believers prepare for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, while inwardly preparing for his second coming. Christmas time is our opportunity to acknowledge, love, reflect upon and receive the greatest gift ever given to humanity - Jesus Christ!
For unto us a child is born; for unto us, a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
The birth of Jesus Christ signals hope for a dying world. There is nothing new under the sun. Just as there were wars, famine and chaos leading up to Jesus’ birth, so it is today. Yet in the midst of all that is ugly we have the beauty of Jesus, and we have hope that there is someone who able to deliver us from it all.
The birth of Jesus Christ gives us peace. Peace escapes many during this time because our minds are on various things. Some are thinking about what they do not have, while others are thinking about how to get more. Some are thinking about loved ones who have passed on, while others may be thinking about trying to provide for their loved ones at home. Some are dealing with loneliness, while others are consumed with grief. At a time where peace should abound, many are without peace. And in the midst of all that we are thinking of, Jesus is born. He is the Prince of Peace. His presence signals peace. His name speaks peace. Calling on the name of Jesus gives us reassurance that whatever I am facing I will not face it alone.
The birth of Jesus Christ brings salvation. As mentioned earlier, we outwardly prepare for Christmas by engaging in certain activities to prepare for the season. Yet, inwardly we need to prepare as well. Because Jesus Christ was born, we can inwardly prepare for his second coming by confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believing in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, and will shall be saved (Romans 10:9-10). The birth of Christ is not just any birth; it is the catalyst for many to be reborn and live as new creations.
How do we prepare during the Advent season?
First, we prepare by waiting with great expectation. We are living in dark times and people are often in haze and are mainly anticipating bad news. However, there are many who are looking for a glimmer a light to brighten their day and give them hope. Jesus is the light of the world! We prepare for his birth with great expectation because lives can change after an encounter with Him.
Secondly, we prepare by opening our mouths to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ! Someone needs to know that Christ was born and that He lives, and because He lives, they can have life and life more abundantly. Many are searching for significance, love and acceptance and do not know who to turn to. Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ gives them the opportunity to turn to the One who loves unconditionally and knows exactly what are going through.
Thirdly, we prepare for the birth of Jesus by unwrapping our worship. We worship Him for who He is. Sing songs of praise and of joy! Knowing that his birth means rebirth for many gives us a reason to sing! O Come Let us adore Him! Worship the Lord with gladness. Honor Jesus Christ by worshiping Him in Spirit and truth.
Lastly, we prepare for the birth of Jesus by opening our hearts to receive his grace. God has given us the gift of grace through Jesus Christ. Grace is God’s unmerited favor that He gives to us just because He can, and not because we did something right. In fact, we make wrong decisions every day, but God’s grace meets us in those decisions and gives us what we do not deserve. Grace is something that we do not have to work for; it is a gift.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
As you wait with great anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ reflect on the fact that He was born to give his life as a ransom for many. Without His birth, there could be no resurrection. And without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would not have victory over death. We have hope and eternal life because of a little baby born in a manger whose purpose was to die so that w may live.