December 26, 2016
A Longing for Home
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16, NIV).
Friend to Friend
It was Christmas Eve and the family was preparing to attend the church service. Everyone was going, everyone except Dad. He was an honest man, a good man, but he simply could neither understand nor accept the seemingly complex story of the baby in a manger born to save the world. It was just too far-fetched for the human mind to conceive.
How could God allow His Son to give up Heaven for Earth?
Why would Jesus want to die for any man?
The questions lingered and, not wanting to be a hypocrite, the man chose to stay home rather than sit in a church pew one time a year with an unbelieving heart.
As his family went out into the cold wintry night, the man added a log to the fire and settled into his favorite chair to read the paper and wait for his family’s return. A knock at the window pulled him away from his peaceful reverie. Glancing outside, he was stunned to see that the knocking sound was actually a small bird desperately trying to reach the warmth of the fire.
The man thought for a moment, contemplating a solution to the bird’s predicament. He opened the window, but the bird ignored him. He tried opening the front door, but the bird again refused his offer and continued to slam into the windowpane. The kind-hearted man finally grabbed his coat and stepped into the Christmas night … and into God’s perfect plan. He trudged through the deepening snow, determined to save the tiny bird by opening the barn doors, convincing the little bird that the barn was safe and warm. Still, the bird rejected his plan.
Frustrated, the man thought, “If only I could be a bird, for just a moment, I could lead the doomed bird to safety.” The sound of church bells suddenly rang through the cold, dark night – and he knew. He finally understood the reason Jesus came - to be one of us – to lead us into the safety of His will and the certainty of eternal life.
“And it was necessary for Jesus to be like us so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. For since He himself has now been through suffering and temptation, He knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and He is wonderfully able to help us.”
Wherever you are today, Jesus has been there, and He understands. God has tucked a longing into Christmas, a longing for home. That longing can never be satisfied outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s why He came.
Christmas is not a date on the calendar. Christmas is a way of life. Like the innkeeper, we are often guilty of posting a sign across the entrance of our hearts and lives that reads, “No room!” We can participate in every festivity of the Christmas season, but until we receive the gift of Jesus Christ, we will never truly experience Christmas.
Jesus is the heart of Christmas. By human standards, Jesus could and should have been born in a palace, a mansion fit for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus was born in a manger. Shepherds announced His birth - the greatest of all miracles - in the midst of total simplicity.
Even today, this extraordinary Jesus comes to us in the midst of our ordinary lives for one simple reason. Love. God loved us so much that He had to do something about it. He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth – for you and for me.
You really can celebrate Jesus. Do not believe the lies of the enemy when he tells you that your God has forsaken you. God is with you – Emmanuel. God understands your fear and loneliness. He endured the cross because He loves you, and because no one can take your place in the Father’s heart. No matter where this Christmas finds you – you can celebrate Jesus. Know you are loved.
Father, I celebrate You and the love You so freely offer. I may not understand some of the things happening in my life right now, but I choose to trust You with each one. My faith is small, Lord. Give me Your strength for each step and help me remember that You are with me. Lord, today I celebrate Your birth. Thank You for the gift of life and the love I find in knowing You. My Christmas gift to You is everything I am, everything I have, and everything I hope to be.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Find some time today to spend alone with God. Praise and worship Him for who He is, Lord, King, Father and Shepherd. Celebrate the perfect plan and design of God for your life.
More from the Girlfriends
Sharon, Gwen and I pray that this Christmas is a true celebration of Jesus Christ at work in your life. We wish each one of you a very merry Christmas. We love doing life with you … when life is good and when it is bad. Please know that we are praying for you and asking God to fill your hearts with His peace and joy.
May God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
The warmth of Christmas, which is love;
The radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
The righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
The belief in Christmas, which is truth;
The all of Christmas, which is Christ.
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Originally published Monday, 26 December 2016.