I would like to start off and say that Christmas is not my favorite time of the year, but before you pick up your stones to throw them at this pastor let me explain. Many people find Christmas to be a very difficult time of the year. This is a time where many people celebrate time with their families, enjoy a lot of fun traditions, exchange presents, and eat way too much food. Trust me I am also a big fan of most of these things too. However, I also recognize that this season also adds a lot of stress when many people try to cram way too many extra Christmas programs, services, dinners, gatherings, shopping, and other things in as well. There are also many people that find this season very lonely and hard, when they are reminded that they no longer can share these moments with loved ones that, for whatever reason, can’t or don’t want to celebrate with them anymore.
All of this makes me think of a story in the Bible from 1 Kings Chapter 19, verses 12-18 where God speaks to Elijah. Elijah was hiding in a cave, (because people were angry with Him for standing up for God) and God passes by Elijah’s cave with; there was a mighty windstorm, an earthquake, then fire, and after all of that God spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper. For me it is way too easy to get swept away in the busyness of shopping, Christmas concerts/services, Christmas hampers, meetings, and yearend stuff.
I believe if there is anything that I can challenge you with today it is to “slow down”. In Luke chapter 2 verses 11 and 12 we see a heavenly host of angels announcing to shepherds: “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
When God spoke to Elijah, He spoke in a gentle soft voice. It was not in the way that we might have expected God to speak to him. When Jesus the Messiah was born unto us, He was born and laid in a humble manger, again not in the way that we would have expected “the king of kings” to come. God could have announced His birth to the kings and religious leaders of the world but instead He announced the birth of His son to the most despised people in Israel at the time – shepherds. So I would like to wish you a merry Christmas and challenge you to “slow down”, and take some time to listen and allow God to speak blessings and encouragement into your life today.
Remember God loves you and that is why He sent us Jesus to pay for the consequences of our sins (things we do that don’t please God) and so that we can be in “right standing” with Him, all we have to do is accept this incredible gift. Don’t allow the business of this season to keep you from hearing the most important message that the creator of the universe is trying to remind you of this season.