I’ve been very intentional about celebrating Christmas this year – keeping the focus on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Not everyone has a Hallmark Christmas movie life – but we all have access to the saving grace of our Lord. I love the devotional I’m sharing below from Karina Allen.
Christmastime is that time of the year that can stir up all manner of emotions. For some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it’s the complete opposite. And then for some, they fall somewhere in the middle. I think I’m in the middle. I’m not a Scrooge, but I’m no Cindy Lou Who either.
That’s what happens when you don’t have family during the holidays. I’m honestly okay with it, but it doesn’t necessarily make the holidays something to be desired. The older I get, I want to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas and not get wrapped up in all the hoopla or any sort of expectations. I simply want the Holy Spirit to rest on this season and make it come alive like never before.
I’ve been reflecting on some verses that surround the birth of Jesus — verses that have totally brought a freshness to an age-old story.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been. Before the beginning of creation, they were. Before the fall of man, God had a plan of redemption for us. There would be a sinless sacrifice that would bring forgiveness and redemption to all who would accept it.
This beautiful sacrifice would be a tangible reminder of God’s love for us and His desire to be in communion with us forever. In Heaven, Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. The fullness of God’s glory is there. There is unceasing praise ringing out in the heavens. It’s a place of perfection in every way.
And yet, Jesus came. He left there, to come here, for us. He knew there was no other way. So, He came, wrapped in flesh. He was fully God and fully man. He was acquainted with all of our sorrows. He dwelt with us in every sense of the word. He didn’t have to come, but He did and He still does . . . ALWAYS.
The Holy Spirit does what only He can do. “And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
One of the greatest miracles ever to occur was this . . . a virgin becoming pregnant, and better yet, becoming pregnant with the Son of God. What?! I think somewhere along the way we have become too familiar with this story, but this absolutely blows my mind! On my best and smartest day, I can’t figure out how to make this happen apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.
This should awe and wow us every day of our lives and especially during this season when there are so many people seeking for something greater than themselves. There are many who feel powerless and hopeless who need to know that there is a great and glorious God who performs miracles in our everyday lives. He comes in all of His power and does what only He can do. He heals and restores and rescues and forgives and redeems and sets captives free!
There is a deep heart work done in the waiting. “But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:20-23)
In the few verses preceding these, Joseph is contemplating divorcing Mary because he believes her to have been unfaithful to him. The few verses after find Joseph completely obedient to the Word of God through the angel.
What happens in between? In the waiting?
Joseph has a dream. He has a dream sent by God. He sees an angel. The angel tells him of God’s great work in Mary and His plan for Jesus. Overnight, Joseph’s heart was changed. He received revelation from God and immediately obeyed His will. God’s Spirit and truth accomplished a deep work in Joseph’s heart that no amount of pressure from people or persuasive arguments from Mary could have ever accomplished.
When God changes hearts, it’s for keeps.
This Christmas season may bring intense emotions and circumstances, but God is greater. He wants to open our eyes and ears, hearts and spirits to His greater work. And then He wants us to proclaim that work to the lost and hurting around us.
This is where the coming alive of Christmas takes place.
This is where I remember that the coming of Christ still matters today.
This is where I remember that there is always more to the story.