Preparing for Christmas
Pastor Ian suggests five ways that you can prepare for Christmas this year.
This past week, American astronaut Anne McClain tweeted out a photo from the International Space Station which is currently orbiting 408 kilometres above the earth. In the photo that accompanied her message, one can spot—hiding among floating oranges and packets of water and freeze-dried food—an elf. In her caption, Dr. McClain wrote, “Well, look who showed up on @Space_Station! I guess we all have to be good now! I hope with his mischievous ways, he doesn’t get into anything TOO important! We will have to wait and see…”
It was a tweet that made the news in her hometown newspaper, which led with the headline, “Preparing for Christmas in Space.” The story closed with, “(Anne) must have been on Santa’s ‘good list’ gauging from all the items delivered by the Space Dragon (delivery pod) brought up last week.”
As a believer, it is easy to become distracted by the way the greater part of the world prepares for Christmas. We are even sometimes tempted to despair over the constant repackaging of this most significant of all human events. And yet, authentic followers of Christ have always found themselves joyfully outside of the general stream of human culture. So as has always been the case, even in our preparation for Christmas, we ought to expect to be resolutely and wonderfully different! So how might we prepare for Christmas this year? I suggest the following:
Prepare Our Hearts for Christ. In John 5:44 Jesus says, “You gladly honour each other, but you don’t care about the honour that comes from the one who alone is God.” Though it is certainly not a bad thing to honour family and friends through the giving of gifts, but how much better would it be to introduce family and friends to the eternal gift of Life!
Draw Near to the Saviour. How extraordinary that the first Christmas announcement was given to shepherds! Not kings or govenors, but ordinary working men. Men who wouldn’t even qualify for religious service were given the astonishing privilege of being the first to draw near to the Saviour of the world. May we not lose the wonder that we too are invited to draw near!
Receive the gift that cannot be bought. In Acts 17 the missionary Paul stands among pagan philosophers and proclaims Jesus to be the God who cannot be purchased. In verses 24-25, he says, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” Truly Christ Himself is the greatest gift of Christmas!
Sing Something that is Worth Singing About. For much of the year it seems, I am surrounded by the sound of songs that celebrate nothing of eternal value. But at this time of the year, even in secular culture we are “given permission” to give full throated, joyful voice to the gospel message. In 1 Chronicles 16:9-10, we are commanded to, “Sing to him; sing praises to him, tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!” Let us fill our hearts and homes with something worth singing!
Finally, Give Glory. A Saviour Is Born! In Luke 2 the shepherds are awaked by the sights and sounds of heaven. When faced with a night-time sky set ablaze, the shepherds were terrified. But then they heard it: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased (verse 14)!" This is the good news at Christmas: God gets the glory, we get the peace!
This Sunday, Pastor Eugene will lead us in the Advent discovery of the King who is on our side! Let me encourage you to prepare your heart by reading all of Psalm 118, and then plan to gather with us on the final Sunday before Christmas as we celebrate the baby who came to give God glory and us peace!
Don’t Forget: Christmas Day Service, this Tuesday at 9 am!