Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. 2 The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith.3 By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible. (Hebrews 11:1-3, Common English Bible)
So, are you ready for Christmas? What am I asking, of course you aren’t. Well, you aren’t unless you are one of those unusual people that bought all of their gifts for family and friends back in March or something.
I realized about fifteen minutes ago that I had been busy enough with Christmas prep that I had not written a post today (I really am trying to be better than I have over the past two years). So, I put all the Christmas I have worked on for the past week or so, off to the side so there would be room in my lap for my laptop. And then, as if I wasn’t already behind enough, my allergies decided to make their twice a year appearance. So, today, to make sure I had a voice to preach tomorrow night, I carved out time for a trip to the doctor.
I had a friend, he passed away a few years back. He would intentionally waited until Christmas Eve and then braved all of the others who were just like him. One year, he called me two days before Christmas. He asked “I’ve got good news and bad news, which do you want first?” The Explorer Scout post I belonged to, scheduled a ski trip to New Mexico and Philmont Scout Ranch where we would stay. When Hank started talking about bad news, my fears went to the ski trip. We didn’t want to miss it.
Hank was saying, “No, No, the trip is still on. We leave Christmas night.”
So I bought into Hank’s original question. He made it sound like terrible news. And, if he had been truthful, he would have stopped and laughed at us right then. He didn’t. “What is the good news?” I asked.
“Well it would seem I have finished OI have finished my Christmas shopping and there are two days to spare.” he responded.
“I wouldn’t consider that news, much less “God News,” I said. “Is it a deal? Yes. But, a deal, No.” Then I mock shouted out, “Stop the presses, hold your children close hug the rest of the family. Get this story in the Houston Chronicle, the world has to know this story so they can save themselves, and children and their furry friends.”
I turned and started to walk away but then stopped.”OK, ” I turned and asked him, “Then what is the bad news?”
“When three sales clerks saw me walking across the store They passed out where they stood. Paramedics came and got them, took them to a nearby hospital where they are receiving treatment for shock. Hopefully they wukk be home in time for CHristmas.
“Hank, ” I said, “that’s terrible. What an awful thing to have to witness.”
“I’m just glad the ladies will be OK. I’ll be returning to my old Christmas shopping habits. I can’t take that kind of risk again.”
It was typical Hank. It was rare for him to be fully prepared for much of anything. It is also typical of many of us.
This time tomorrow night, parents all over the country will be up putting bicycles and other “some assembly required” gifts from Santa together. I do not miss those days. And, it is safe to say, I was not prepared.
Even if everything else was ready for Christmas at my house, I still wouldn’t be ready. I am not ready. I am ready for worship, don’t get me wrong. My sermon was ready a week ago. With all the stuff, I am ready, well, close but I actually have until Friday when my family gets together to get finished.
But, it is exactly that, all the stuff that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that might be done, but yet I am still not ready for Christmas. I need to hear those words, “Peace on earth and goodwill to all. For unto us is born this day, in the city of David” (my paraphrase).
The thing is, the world wasn’t ready for him either. Since that time, there have always been those who, no matter the time, will never be ready.
I think that is what makes the Luke 2 story so important. God knew we weren’t ready, but God also knew our need and came to bring us life, light and peace. If nothing else comes my way this Christmas, may I be satisfied.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2019, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved