Isaiah 9:2, “2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” – NLT
Often, we get to this time of year and our Thanksgiving holiday has been overwhelming and we know that Advent is coming, along with the incredibly commercialized version of Christmas that we have come to know. When Timothy Keller passed from this life and into the next this past year, I went to many of his books to remember how his teachings of Jesus and the Holy Scriptures would forever be captured for us to learn from. “Hidden Christmas” is a book that Timothy Keller wrote to make sure that we do not forget the details of Christmas, and what they mean to us. Keller writes, “We will look at passages of the Bible that are famous because they are dusted off every Christmas, at the one moment every year when the secular society and the Church are, to a degree, thinking about the same thing.”
My prayer for us this Christmas is that we will no longer be people who are walking in darkness, but we will be people who understand that the light (Jesus) has come to shine and provide us with a way. I hope and pray that we can be people who are found looking for Jesus and anxiously awaiting the celebration of His birth. The word Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. I believe that Jesus and his arrival was definitely notable!
My goal, for our churches, is to make church more about “going and being” than “coming and doing”. Christ coming to the earth, God being born as one of us, is one of the most incredible and amazing aspects of who our God is and just how much He loves us. It should be moving and encouraging, and something that we take with us every day. Jesus should be transformational for us.
My prayer for each of you is that you do not miss out on the power, the presence, and the confident hope of Christmas this year. God loves you. He loves you so much that he desired to be one of us, and then die on our behalf. None of this would matter if not for the God of all creation choosing Mary and becoming fully human and yet fully God. What can you find in the birth of Jesus this season?
The writer is the pastor for Maplewood and DeGraff United Methodist Churches.