Merry Christmas! -- May your day be merry and bright!
In the dark lonely recesses of a stable in the Middle East, it was just another day. The sun rose, the animals were fed and watered, and daily chores were done. It wasn't until the sun had set and the stars came out that everything changed. There, in the darkness, shown one lone star brighter than all the others. It could be seen far and wide.
Its light peaked through the cracks in the thatch stable and brought light into a normally dark place. Miles away in a far off land, star gazers saw it in the heavens and began a journey to find the One who would later be known as The Light of the World. While most of the world saw the star in the sky, only a few would seek to find the Newborn King.
With that brilliant star came an event that would forever change the world. In an unlikely place, in an unthinkable way, the unimaginable happened. God stepped out of eternity and into time in the form of a baby to redeem the world.
Theologians and Bible scholars call this the doctrine of Incarnation. The word literally means “putting on of flesh”. The Bible says that Jesus would also be known as Emmanuel, which literally means “God with us.” And so, from that moment until now, Christians all over the world have stopped for one day each year to remember and celebrate Emmanuel, God with us.
And that's what Christmas is all about. God, stepping into our world… walking in our culture, …speaking our language, …adapting to our customs and practices, …adopting the constraints, limitations, and embodiment of the human experience. So that we would know how to live and to show us the way back into relationship with God.
But Christmas is not just a celebration of the Incarnation. Christmas also reminds us that there has been a passing of the baton. Not only did God enter our world to help us find our way back to God, but now, that message and mission has been passed on to those who make up His Church.
Christmas reminds us to continue the work of the Incarnation as we step into our world, walk in our culture, speak the language of our neighbors, adapt to the customs and practices of our world, so that we fulfill our calling of Christ’s work by meeting people where they are and helping them find their way back to God.
On this day, as you celebrate the coming of Christ into our world, I hope that together, we at Journey’s Crossing would continue what Jesus started so many years ago. Filled with His Spirit, we are to be His hands and feet, called to enter and touch the lives of those we meet with God’s love. We are to be His eyes and ears, sent to see the needs and speak the message of God’s grace and truth.
In the midst of beautifully wrapped presents, gatherings of friends and family, and delicious food, I want to encourage you to be a light that reflects The Light of the World.
And if you can, take a moment to stand under the stars, look to the heavens and worship the One who stepped into your world to show His love. And simply remember. Remember that the One who was sent as God's Light is with you. He is with you in the pain, the struggles and the joys of your everyday life. God is with you in every circumstance, for He is still Emmanuel.
Loving the journey with you,
P.S. I hope you’ll join me at one of our Christmas Eve Services (6:00 and 7:30 PM) tonight at the Rockville Civic Center Theatre. It will be a beautiful evening of sights and sounds as we celebrate the birth of Christ.(Click here for directions and more information.)
P.S.S. And plan to join us the day after Christmas for a Sunday worship service at the same location on the twenty-sixth. We will have one combined family service at 11:00 AM (at the Rockville Civic Center) and you are invited to join us for a “pot-luck carry in dinner following the service at noon. We’ll provide a main course of chicken as well as plates, utensils and drinks – you bring a couple of side dishes to share!