Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT (How To Prepare For Christmas)

When word reached the young Soldier that he could have a three-day pass for the Christmas holidays, it was much too late to book passage home on a train or a bus. Mostly on Christmas Eve, all means of public transportation were already filled.

With his duffel bag slung over his shoulder, he thumbed a ride with a family driving north. As they rode along, snow began to gently fall. The 150-mile trip between the Soldier’s base and his parents’ home consumed eight hours. As the roads grew treacherous, the Car skidded off the primitive highway once more.

In the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Day, the Car stopped. The Soldier walked the last few blocks to his parents’ home, crunching through the snow. Gazing toward the end of the road, he was surprised and delighted to see a small electric candle flickering in his parents’ window.

He climbed the steps to the porch and stomped the snow from his combat boots. As the door opened, a startled father peered out into the dark that surrounded his son. Warm hugs were followed by laughter as the boy’s mother joined the reunion.

Later that morning as the three sat around the kitchen table enjoying steaming cups of coffee, the boy asked his father, “Why, Dad? Why in the world did you have that light burning in the window when I arrived this morning? You weren’t expecting me. Why did you leave the light in the window?” The father responded by saying, “Oh, I don’t know, Son, I guess I let it burn just in case.”

Two thousand years ago, God hung a light in eternity’s window “just in case.” The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And God named that “Light in the window” Jesus. According to Isaiah 9:6-7, that Light’s “NAME” expresses His marvelous nature.

2.1. Wonderful-Counselor, should be hyphenated. It means a wonder of a counselor.
2.2. Mighty God, suggests a divine warrior or a hero.
2.3. Everlasting Father, is better understood as “Father of Eternity.”
2.4. Prince of Peace, means a successful ruler or leader.

Isaiah gave us a marvelous glimpse of one aspect of the coming Messiah – the light in the window of eternity. Yet we sometimes struggle when we put his description alongside our impression of the New Testament narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, we see that light differently. When we throw in our own family customs and the notions we pick from the secular celebration of this season and put that into our emotional blender, we end up with a strange conglomeration of ideas and opinions of what Christmas is or really should be.

Isn’t it amazing how simple a light is? The decorations that we’ve incorporated into our worship service today are not the Light. They are in celebration of the Light. They are announcing the coming of the Light. As I considered our annual event of the Christmas service, I tried to consider the nature of the adornments that would grace our Sanctuary. What should be the decor? It should be simple, Inexpensive, yet very costly. This Wonderful-Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – this Light that was born in a barn, how can I best be prepared to welcome Him? As we anticipate His coming, may we be adorned in attributes that serve as a welcome mat to the Light.

We learn humility from Jesus’ arrival.
3.1. Jesus came in humility.
3.2. Jesus lived in humility.

The Bible says, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Phil.2:8). We also read, “in humility consider others better than yourselves” (v.3). we are to live in humility as Jesus the Light is our example.

COMPASSION DISPLAYS ITSELF THROUGH GIVING. In the city of Topeka, Kans, over 8,000 people are fed every Thanksgiving Day by a gentleman who owns a garbage collection business. Motivated by compassion, Mr. Cushionberry seeks ways to give something back to the community.

Like many churches, we have participated in the some projects. Through that organization, we have sought to provide Christmas gifts to children who have parents in prison. The greatest joy came from the fact that we were to deliver the gifts to the homes rather than to an agency.

COMPASSION DISPLAYS ITSELF THROUGH GRATITUDE. Tim Stearman recalls, several years ago on a bitter cold Christmas Eve, my doorbell rang. A young black boy without gloves or hat asked if he could shovel snow from my driveway. After turning him away, I immediately felt checked. I opened the door again, but he was gone. No trace of him could be seen. I got in my Car and drove through the neighborhood but never found him. May God help us to see and help people in need and to be grateful for His blessings. We need to exhibit the light of compassion.

We have received much. Our living rooms on Christmas Day resemble an explosion in a paper factory from all the gift wrapping. We need to exhibit the light of good stewardship and common sense. Don’t neglect opportunity to give through your Church. Christmas naturally brings added expenses, but you won’t neglect making your Car payment. So don’t neglect your Church.

Some years ago, a western city reported a sad situation. The manger in their Nativity scene would be empty. Someone had stolen the infant Jesus. But the central figure of Christmas is so neglected that His disappearance often goes unnoticed for days. What’s new about that?

People may forget Jesus Christ the remainder of the year as well. What’s worse, a crook who steals a plaster image or millions of normal Christians who ignore His presence? As you drive through your neighborhoods and see the homes decorated for the season, every light stands as a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 1:9, 8:12). And God put that Light in eternity’s window – just in case.

Further Scripture Readings:-

Gen.1:11-12, Psams 1:2-3, Isaiah 7:14, 60:13, 61:1-3, Matt.1:20-22, 5:14, John 1:9, 8:12,

(Tim Stearman)


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