OK, so I just got a new phone.
I had owned my previous phone for like 8 years (maybe even longer) – it was definitely "new" in the Jurassic Age, for sure. (Scientific name - Phonius Dinosaurus).
But, it was time to upgrade – way past time to upgrade.
And, my family helped me with the whole process. I opted to get a phone made by a certain *fruit* company.
This phone required a significant *learning curve* for me. I stayed up until 1:30 AM that first night, learning how to navigate my way around on my touchscreen! However, I was never alone. If I longed for the voice of humanity, I had "an intelligent personal assistant" to talk to. (She's very polite, by the way!)
But, one of the best features was discovered a few nights later, when a late-night call arrived requesting - well, you know - "Face-to-Face Time".
I accepted, and was instantly treated to the sweet faces of my youngest son, and my precious grandbeagle, Marty. Marty was wearing my son's eyeglasses! (Poor Marty – that sleepy dog was subjected to more shenanigans as the conversation went on…)
Oh my goodness, how I laughed!!
I have to admit, it was pretty cool being able to see their faces, live and in real time. However, I do pity them having to see ME in my fuzzy pink robe, with my hair askew, wearing no makeup, and my reading glasses perched at half-mast!
I got to thinking about it the next day.
About how God always found a way to talk to His people. He chose representatives like Moses. He employed priests. He sent judges and prophets and kings.
He called John the Baptist.
But, at some point in time, in God's perfect timing, He decided to do something more.
God decided that it was time for some "Face-to-Face Time" with His people.
You know, that's what the manger is all about for me. It's about God choosing to come face-to-face with His people. Live and in real time.
Have we lost the impact of this??
You know, I just love the image of the Lord as a knight in shining armor, coming to rescue us out of the darkness of this fallen world!
But, the fact that He humbled Himself to come as a baby stops me in my tracks. He didn't just rescue us, He rescued us as one of us.
I can vividly remember each of my sons when they were first born. They were so tiny, and helpless, and fragile. I remember being so very afraid that I would accidentally do something to harm them.
To think that the Master of the Universe deigned to come to this world in the form of a human baby is amazing. Humility doesn't even really capture it. It's sorta like you or I becoming a gnat!
So, I'm thinking about "Face-to-Face Time" this year.
I'm thinking about Jesus' eyes.
How His tiny, unfocused baby eyes greeted the world He had created. How His child's eyes saw the wonder of it, even though it was a broken and fallen world. How His adult eyes focused unflinchingly on His mission to save that same sad world.
How His swollen and beaten eyes closed in death on a Cross meant for me. How His eyes full of Life, now resurrected and living in eternal glory, are continually watching over me.
Why do I forget that?
I think I'm like everyone else. I think we lose focus at Christmas because that's what the enemy does. He takes a good thing and twists it around. I have known people who are proud of their *busy* – and activity can become an idol.
And sometimes, the moments of *winter* that cloud our lives make things a little blurry. Sometimes our hearts just feel overburdened and weary, and our perspective suffers. Sometimes life has a way of snowballing on us. Sometimes we're caught in an avalanche of difficult circumstances and painful suffering...
But, we would be wise to stop and be still.
I am reminded of how quiet and unobtrusive the manger was. The world hushed at the sight of a newborn sleeping.
A newborn who arrived because God had something BIG in mind!
He desired "Face-to-Face Time" with His people.
He wanted them to see Him up close and personal. He wanted them to know that He cared. He wanted to experience what they experience, so that they would know that He understands. He wanted to touch them, to talk to them, to eat with them, to fellowship with them.
He wanted to die for them.
No longer can we ever deny the fact that God is a God of love.
A manger, a cross, and an empty tomb shout out the unending, undeniable, and unchanging truth of His love.
Because of that, I can cling to the sure knowledge that my friend, Jesus, walks every step with me. He is always by my side.
And, He has promised that this life is not the end of the story.
He came to this dark and fallen and broken world to write a new ending.
An ending in eternity with Him.
With the Almighty.
Now THAT is a happily ever after!!
GOD BLESS - this is a wonder-full CHRISTmas!
Gracious Lord Jesus, thank You for what You did when You became one of us. The love that it took to stoop so low is beyond my comprehension. Thank You for dying as a man, so that You could raise each one of us believers to Your glory one day. Your love is more than I can comprehend.
I can't wait to see Your face…
Away In A Manger
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17, NLT)
What does *Emmanuel* mean to you this Christmas?
Some final thoughts (from the Word of God!):
Yet a ruler…will come.
And He will stand to lead His flock with the LORD'S strength, in the majesty of the name of His God.
He will be highly honored around the world.
And He will be the source of peace.
(From Micah 5)
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on His shoulders.
And He will be called:
Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
(From Isaiah 9)
The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means "God is with us."
(From Matthew 1)
"Don't be afraid, Mary…for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
And He will reign…forever; His Kingdom will never end!"
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
She gave birth to her first child, a son.
Glory to God in highest heaven,
And peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
(From Luke 1 and 2)
So the Word became human and made His home among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen His glory.
(From John 1)
Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.
And He will send out his angels to gather His chosen ones from all over the world – from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
(From Mark 13)
For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.
Then we will be with the Lord forever.
(From 1 Thessalonians 4)
I am coming soon.
Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.
(From Revelation 3)
Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(From Revelation 22)
Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!
And He who sits on the throne will give them shelter.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty.
For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
(From Revelation 7)
Praise the name of the Lord!
Praise Him, you who serve the Lord.
Praise the Lord, for He is good.
Your name, O Lord, endures forever!
(From Psalm 135)
AMEN! Come, Lord Jesus!
May the wonder of a starlit night,
The power of our Savior's might,
The glories of His merciful love,
Bring blessings to you from above.
Wishing each of you and yours a very Merry CHRISTmas!
Linked today with:
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!