This Advent season, we are looking at learning from our Christmas Cantata. “Three Gifts: My Life, My Heart, My Praise” will debut this Satruday night at 6pm and the following night at the same.
For this past Sunday, we focused on “my life,” because if there is anything we learn from the season it is that everyone made a journey to find God that required laying their lives down. The magi laid down their lives and entered onto a dangerous journey to find a child they only hoped would be at the end of the quest. The shepherds left their flocks (their livihood) and went to see “this thing that has happend,” as proclaimed by the angels. They knelt before the child-king. And even Mary and Joseph made a trecherous journey to take part in this event. Imagine: a 9-month pregnant mother and father traveling the backroads of Palestine to have a baby that defied logic and understanding. That…is a journey.
For us, we make a journey in the midst of our hustle and bustle to a place that makes no sense. Who lays down their life, their schedule, their mindset, for a 2,000 year-old virgin-born prophecy?! We do. We do it because our hearts have been touched, healed, made whole, forgiven, corrected, and given hope. This season isn’t about trees, gifts, lights, and eggnog. Its about salvation; that God has come to us because we are worth loving and saving. God has come in the most unusal of ways to do the most unusal thing—to lay down His life for His beloved, which includes the saints and the sinners, the good and the bad, the grateful and the ungrateful, the well-off and the pitied. Because to God, there is nothing He wouldn’t do to love us into what we were created to be, and that is, beloved sons and daughters of the Most High King.
This season, let your life be changed by laying that life down at the lowly manger of a weak, vulnerable child who will one day pay for all our sins. “Without the wooden manger, there is no wooden cross,” is what Pastor Steve reminded us here at Smyrna 1st this past Sunday at 11am. The agony of being born to a sinful world. The agony of dying at the hands of that world. And yet the joy of redeeming it all. That is our God. That is our Lord. That is our Christmas.