Let It Begin With Me, Advent Devotion #9
As I sit here tonight (December 8th) trying to decide what to write to you, my readers, I am struck by the wonder of my Beloved Lord. It is mostly silent on the street tonight, save the early winter winds tunneling through our little community. My husband has not come home yet from work, and my extended family is away for the evening. I am alone in the home… or am I? The presence of the Lord, my Savior, is here. I can feel Him. I can almost hear Him saying my name. If I close my eyes, I might even be able to reach out and touch Him somewhere beyond my computer monitor. Is that a silly thing to say?
I’d like to switch gears a little and take some time this week to reflect on the reason for the season. I know I promised you advent devotionals on celebrating your marriage this Christmas season, but, I wouldn’t be able to celebrate if it weren’t for my Lord. I’d have no reason to celebrate. I wouldn’t be married if it weren’t for the blood of my God spilt on a cross so many, many years ago. I wouldn’t have met my precious husband, my beloved star, Adam, if it weren’t for the intervening work of God in my life. I wouldn’t be here even if it weren’t for my beautiful Savior.
I can’t imagine what must have been going through a woman like Mary’s head when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to tell her that she would give birth to the Son of God, the promised Child from Isaiah 9. But let’s back up to verse 2 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.” The nation of Israel was going through a time of great trial when this was written, in a period of deep darkness, held in captivity by foreign nations with foreign gods, but worse still, many captive by their sin. But ah! A light has dawned… a light was coming… a great Light to be born on the earth as a holy and perfect Child.
I can’t imagine what I’d do if an angel suddenly appeared in my office here at home. Would he be floating in the air above me? Would he pause to sit on the deep freezer as I often do when I can’t find a seat in here? Would he stand in the doorway calling to me? As I ponder the awesomeness and the downright craziness of the scene in Scripture, I find myself wondering – what would my response be? Would I be humble and obedient like Mary and say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you said?” Would I freak out and nearly break a bone jumping up from my computer desk in shock? Would I shake my head in disbelief and think I need to go see a doctor? Truth be told, I don’t think I’d react as calmly (as far as Scripture says) as Mary did. I can’t imagine telling my “Joseph” a.k.a. Adam that I was pregnant and he wasn’t the father -that God had chosen me to bear His blessed Son. Of course, I’m not Mary and I didn’t live 2000+ years ago and God didn’t choose me for this awesome task.
Great! Does that mean I’m off the hook?
Not in the least. Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace may have already been born on this earth, lived a perfect life, died a criminal’s death on the cross, shedding His blood for me, and then rose again from the grave, victorious over sin and death, but His work is not done yet. You and I are still on this earth many centuries later. The King of the Universe offers an invitation to all who will confess with their mouths and believe in their hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord to join Him as eternal heirs of grace, sons and daughters of God, as the bride of Christ.
The last thing Jesus says to His disciples before returning to the right hand of the Father is this: “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Are you a disciple of Jesus? If you are a follower of Christ, then yes, you are also a disciple – as the simplest definition of disciple is a follower of Christ or a follower of His doctrine – His Word.
If this were your last Christmas, would you be ready to go? Would you have done all you could to serve the Lord while you were here on earth in this life? There are so many people in this world who need the love of Jesus Christ this Christmas, who are aching for more, who need wise counsel, who are looking for someone to worship, who are looking for someone to remove mountains in their lives, who need a father, and are desperate for peace. Jesus, as the triune God, is all of these things. An angel need not appear in your room to tell you that you’ve been chosen. That little voice in your heart, that nagging part of your conscience, that is telling you “go! invite that person to church this Christmas!” or “go! take a meal to that person and pray with them” or “go! that person needs your help…” that’s the Holy Spirit whispering to you. That’s the call to go forth – spread the love of Jesus Christ this Christmas – tell others of the wonderful gift He has given us.
I’m singing in the Christmas cantata at church this next Friday. One of the songs we’re singing is “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” It is such a beautifully written song, and I don’t think the meaning of the song hit me until today during dress rehearsal. I kept thinking all this time since October when I joined choir that this song wasn’t really Christmas-y, and it wasn’t even very religious. *God smacks Hannah with a two-by-four* Christmas is not about religion. It’s about how I choose to respond the call God has placed on my heart now that I’ve accepted His invitation. We have been given the blessed opportunity, privilege, and gift of telling others about the amazing sacrifice and love of the eternal Lord and King, Jesus. We can carry around the peace that surpasses understanding, the peace of resting assured in Jesus Christ, in salvation, and we can share that with others this Christmas. The last lines of the song are:
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
I have peace and joy today because of the King of Kings, the Son of God, chose to leave the Father and come to this earth born of a virgin girl who answered the call and humbled herself as the servant of the Lord. I have peace and joy today because twenty-four years ago to the day my parents welcomed me in the world and I’m alive because the King of the Universe knit me together in my mother’s womb. I have peace and joy today because fifteen (almost sixteen) years ago, I accepted the invitation and was welcomed in the family of God, accepted into the beautiful redeemed Bride of Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for the true peace and joy you have brought me and for giving me 24 wonderful years on this earth. As I celebrate my birthday tomorrow (which is now today for all you readers), I am looking forward to celebrating the once a year special holiday we celebrate, the day You chose to come to the earth.
How will you choose to answer the call this Advent? We are no longer like captive Israel, waiting for our Savior to come 800 years later. The light of the Lord has already been here on earth, and it lives on inside of me. Are you the Lord’s servant? Are you ready to answer the call?
For unto us, a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6