December 25, 2010

To Live is Christ — rejoicing in His birth

Has anyone ever identified that magical feeling that many experience during Christmas? Last night we felt it during our Carols and Candles Christmas service, but I sensed it for many days prior, and without music or candles.

I’ve my own theory about the “Christmas spirit.” I think it is a greater sense of the presence of God (who is always present). It happens because more people are thinking about Him than they usually do. Since every Christmas carol offers worship to God, more words of praise are given to Him than are normally given.

Since the Bible says God occupies the praises of His people, it makes sense that as we sing, His presence becomes more tangible to us, even to others. Some say it is “magic in the air” or “the spirit of generosity.” I believe it is the Spirit of God becoming real because He is praised.

Part of this Christmas experience is a deep sense of peace. The angels promised peace on earth at the birth of Christ. God gives His peace to all who believe in Jesus. It is a peace that passes understanding, a peace that is like no other.

I know, not everyone knows peace at Christmas. There is sorrow, grief, heartache and all sorts of calamities from accidents to house fires. Why then do people say a disaster is “so much worse because it happened at Christmas”? Is it because a calamity has robbed them of that peace they have come to expect?

Today’s devotional verse isn’t about Christmas, yet it is fitting for this day. It begins with, “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace. . . .” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

How true. God is not into mayhem and disorder. While He plants wild flowers and trees willy nilly, there is a sense of loveliness and beauty in His design. We scar the soil and bring in weeds; we confuse the doings of God. He promises peace, yet His peace eludes those who ignore its source.

While singing carols in the candlelight, the world’s complexity and bedlam seemed a million years away. For one hour, we focused on the events of the birth of Jesus Christ and worshiped Him in song. As we did, God poured His peace into our hearts.

Is it magic? Maybe supernatural is a better word. The natural is the chaos of human life and our efforts to make it bigger, better, more. The supernatural is the simplicity of a baby born in a manger, growing to manhood, showing (those who cared to see) that He is God in human flesh. He was crucified for our sin, but after three days rose from the dead. This Dear One now lives forever at the right hand of the Father, interceding for those who put their trust in Him. He also prepares a place for us that we might someday join Him there and also live forever.

The children's eyes are wide with wonder. My eyes at times fill with tears of joy. Is this magic? Rapture is a better word. My heart is filled with the wonder of God humbling Himself to be born in a stable as one of us — that we who rebel against Him and create confusion and disorder might have opportunity to share eternity with Him.

There are no words. Embrace Jesus and adore Him. Herein is deep joy and the incredible peace of God, just as the angels promised.

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