Maybe this happens to you too. You’re going merrily along your way, enjoying the autumn leaves and the cooler weather and WHAM! It’s Christmas time! Christmas decorations on the streets, Christmas music in the stores (secular, of course), Christmas obligations fill our calendars, Christmas gifts to buy for everyone, and enough Christmas busyness to send us directly into hibernation for the whole month of January! Surprise! It’s Christmas! Life just seems to come at us this way, always rushing from this to that, never really prepared to take in the true meaning of what’s going on around us. This year, let’s take the surprise out of Christmas and set the stage.
Setting the Stage for Jesus
We’ll start by taking the surprise out of Jesus. What do I mean by that? Well, as we continue reading the Bible together, we will reach the New Testament on February 14th. Between Malachi and Matthew is roughly 400 years. A lot can happen in 400 years! A lot DOES happen in 400 years! The world is a very different place when Jesus comes. Well, we could let it come like Christmas does so often and be a surprise, or we can set the stage for Jesus to come. That’s why we’re focusing on “The Time between the Testaments” for our Advent Midweek Worship series. On December 1, 8 & 15 at 11am and 7pm we’ll worship God and take a look at how God set the stage for Jesus. Watch the New Testament come alive as you see how all the pieces come together for the Son of God to come and save the world.
Taking the surprise out of Jesus’ arrival is a great first step in setting the stage for Christmas. Let’s take it even further. Let’s rediscover Advent… not in the church building, but in your home. I know it’s crazy at home during Advent, but find a time to devote to preparing you and your family for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Say a special prayer at mealtimes that focuses on the coming of Jesus. Lighting the Advent candles each night is great way to look forward to Christmas. Pick an Advent or a Christmas song to sing together with the family. Or start a new tradition that focuses us on what Christmas is all about so that when it comes, we’re ready to really celebrate Christmas.
When the Stage is Set
I will admit to you, I struggle with Christmas now. All the busyness surrounding Christmas in our culture is just so empty. It gives me a profound sadness that the majority of people fill their lives with so much only to have it mean so little. We in the church can’t help but to be influenced by it too. Jesus calls us to be in the world, yet not of the world. This challenge is ours every December to set the stage and let the main character take His place: Jesus. When the stage is set in our lives, we fill the emptiness with overwhelming meaning. When the stage is set, our joy has eternal significance, both for us and for those around us. When the stage is set, the surprise of Christmas becomes an anticipation that builds into a rich, heartfelt celebration that Jesus did come to save us.