As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed I’ve lost a certain sense of excitement and anticipation with Christmas. I can hardly believe that it’s the 23rd of December already! Wasn’t it just November a few days ago? It seems as if time flies quicker and quicker, and Christmas seems to spring up on me without warning.
Because of that, I’ve found myself ill prepared. No gifts bought, no cards written, and apart from the white chocolate given to the congregation as an annual Christmas gift, there’s been far too little mental preparation for Christmas. And I suppose that’s my problem. I have not prepared myself mentally and emotionally for Christmas. Although I have done a few things physically (put up a Christmas tree, planned a visit home), my body says Christmas is here while my spirit is still unaware.
Before you know it another Christmas will have come and gone. And I would have missed it.
It’s ironic don’t you think? Christmas is about the coming of Christ. Remembering that the Word became flesh. The true and living God, with us for a time. Emmanuel – God with us. A transformative event. And yet somehow we so easily miss it.
See, like many of you, I surmise, the pace of life and the stress of living often pushes us physically from one moment to the next. We are like puppets in the strings of time. But our hearts and spirit never takes the time to reflect on the greater realities. I know there have been many times where I have gone to church, sung songs, listened to the speaker, and then headed home –- all the while never really engaging with God. To truly engage with God requires me to pause –– to stop and prepare myself for Him.
And so in John 1, as the author eloquently describes the nature of Christ he interjects a testimony about John the Baptist. The one who prepares the way. The one who bears witness about the coming light. That needs to be us. We need to prepare our hearts and our spirits for the coming of Christ.
You cannot expect the joy of Christmas to simply appear in your heart. Rather, you need to pause and choose to enjoy it. If we truly desire to celebrate Christ then we should take the time now to stop, reflect, and let our hearts sing out because the King has come. Prepare the way for the Lord.
These were some thoughts from our current series The Remarkable Life of Jesus and our Strong and Courageous Life in Him. The message from John 1 is available here and all our previous messages are available on the Sunday messages page.