I looked around me and saw towering skyscrapers that reached toward the heavens. Beneath my feet I walked upon asphalt streets and paved thoroughfares. Everywhere I turned was the concrete structures of man’s design and I began to understand – I began to see that I stood in the midst of manmade Christianity.
Yet as I looked I remembered a wide open field, a panorama of life and light with the gentle blowing wind of the Spirit of God that caressed the air and touched my soul. I remembered the faith of Christ. The life that He promised to those who believe is more like the open field than the concrete city. God is calling and His voice beckons me back to the freedom and life of Christ.
But I have grown accustomed to the city. I am habituated to the order and the restrictions set by men, the concrete towers all lined up like soldiers at attention. I know the city – I know the parameters of men – and I know how to live within the walls created to maintain the illusion of structure and stability. But deep inside, somewhere in that place where the echoed whisper of God is still heard, I remember… I remember!
In that moment of revelation my heart is enraged and I want freedom – I want liberation – I want out of this concrete captivity! The walls of men surround me, but they no longer support… they suffocate. Man’s order is not God’s and I want to break free, to feel again God’s breath of life like the morning breeze and to walk in the vale of God’s ever-present love.
Behind me I hear a voice whisper, “Give it time.”
When I look, I see a small blade of grass, a simple growing thing breaking through the asphalt and tearing down the concrete walls of man’s design. My heart leaps in delight! God’s life cannot be held back, it is stronger than all of man’s efforts to contain it.
As you read this, know that the order of God is filled with beauty and life, rich in love and abounding in grace. The order of man is a prison, no matter how well constructed it might be.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. – Luke 2:9-10
That morning bore the singular distinction of winter. The world was painted white, dazzling, beautiful, with trees dressed in tapestries of the soft wintry garb. Atop every roof sat a glacier and from the heavens above God generously provided a continual shower of cotton-like snow, a pageant of crystalline beauty that drifted through the atmosphere and caressed the cheeks of valiant young adventurers with their sleds.
As I gazed out through the large picture window of my comfortable living room, that winter scene was spectacular to behold. Clear crystal spires hung like ornaments from the eaves and endeared the house with a magical aura. Even the grey clouds and quiet hour brought a sublime tranquility to the beautiful season. And, as I waited, I knew that the calm serenity would soon be overcome by a wealth of laughter and sounds of joy as families and friends joined together to celebrate the birth of our King.
What an honor and privilege to know the meaning of Christmas: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). What grace! What love! He who is holy sent His only begotten Son into this fallen, sinful world to be the hope for all mankind. The great gift of Christmas is Jesus; and the greatest gift you can give to anyone is the love that has been given to you—the love of God in Christ.
I’ve often wondered if the Father in heaven celebrates Christmas. I think He does, but He celebrates it all the year as He continually offers His love and mercy to all who call upon His Son. Even as Micah says, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18). God delights to show mercy, He celebrates the salvation of all who trust in Christ.
So, as you watch winter fall upon your world and as the gathering of friends and families fill up your homes, don’t forget the One who has invited you to share in His celebration. And one more thing, in the bustle of the season, as you parlay your way through the malls and halls of this world, take a moment to listen. You may just hear the echoed voice of the shepherds calling to you as they say, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15).
Reflect and Pray
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we let the chaos of the world shape our celebration of Christmas. Help us to find that sublime night in our hearts, to hear the angels declare the birth of Christ and to go with the shepherds to see this thing that we have been told about. Amen.