From: Mary Zimmerman
Well, so quickly Advent has come to a close, as the last candle is placed in the Advent wreath and we have so earnestly and faithfully sung “Come, oh come Emmanuel” numerous times as well. Ever so quickly Christmas is here, so it seems (maybe not for children awaiting Santa’s arrival). With no snow, I guess it’s anybody’s guess just how Santa will come.
Over 2,000 years ago the long awaited Messiah (Our Savior) was born into the world as a helpless little baby, fully dependent upon his mother Mary, and his foster father Joseph, to love and care for Him ever so tenderly. As I write this I stop and think wow, what humility. God with all His power and majesty comes to us as a powerless little infant. But actually do we really know that for sure as an angel announced to Zachariah that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son in her advanced years, his name will be John, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. I don’t know!
I think perhaps for everyone Christmas has individual meaning, yet it seems all Christians come together as we so calmly sing “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright, round yon Virgin, Mother and Child,” and from the Canticles of Mary, “From this day all generations will call me blessed, the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.” Rejoice, rejoice, the one we have been waiting for has finally come and what message did this little one come to bring to share with the world?
Let’s just zero in on a few I believe Jesus had on the top of His list for mankind to understand - love, peace, and joy.
Love. God the Father so fully demonstrated after mankind so totally screwed up. He sent His only Son, Jesus, into the world to repair the damage which was major so the repair was major as well. Jesus giving his very life in ransom for the redemption of mankind that the gates of heaven would again open up. The special thing we need to note about this, He didn’t just do all this suffering because so many souls were at stake, He would have done it individually for each person. Fathom that love if you can!
Peace. We so often hear that word. Peace on earth, good will toward men. Yes, we hear it, but do we live it? We long for peace yet it seems like we cling to war, even seem to want to start them sometimes. When we count the cost of war in money, lives and the wounded, do we ever really come out ahead? Check the statistics on the Iraqi war. Basically we haven’t learned the lesson on forgiveness - within our families, nations, neighbors. The world is in disruption and wars continue.
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “Love your enemies.” “Forgive those who hurt you.” But Lord, how many times? Need we answer that? I think we’ve all heard the answer but we would rather have forgotten it.
Jesus came as the Prince of Peace. Let our hearts dwell on that.
Joy. “Joy to the world the Lord has come, let heaven and nature sing.” If we’ve assimilated love and peace into our lives then surely joy will come as well. We have spent Advent working on just that and I believe many will reap that joy from preparing well, most especially their hearts.
It seems this time of the year is especially a time for giving and sharing, a time of presents to our children, family, sometimes friends, and also with the poor and less fortunate. There’s a great satisfaction in knowing we have enough food and other necessities, but great joy in knowing you helped others have the them too. Maybe that is where the Prince of Peace fits in as well. If the money spent on weapons for war was spent on feeding the poor, I think our enemies would disappear. Imagine if you can a world free of conflict and war. So let’s all work on renewing our hearts (“Create a clean heart in me oh God”), not just during Advent but every day, all year long. Let us ask God to help us refuel them with love, peace and joy so they can graciously overflow into the hearts of all people. Then indeed we will be celebrating Christmas every day of our lives, not just on December 25th.
I pour my love out to all my family, friends and all my readers. I say peace be with you and joy to all the world. Merry Christmas.