Saturday, December 05, 2009
I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.
When I was growing up, our family had a red tree topper. It was a tall spire with an open globe stuffed with angel hair. Each year we would find it packed away in our little attic. We always took it from hibernation, and put it in its proper place atop our prickly tree. Finding the red swirly object was not my favorite part of tree-trimming. I was never too happy with the spire. Not that it wasn't pretty; it was truly quite elegant, but it just never said "Christmas" to me. I wanted a star. In my childlike faith, a star said "Jesus."
One Christmas season, my parents noticed the red spire's beauty waning. Its angel hair had thinned, its plastic had begun to crack, and its paint was chipping. A new topper for our tree was added to our shopping list, and it was decided that we would buy a star. So, we went star-shopping and brought home a lovely five-point symbol made of gold tinsel and colored lights.
I could not wait to see it crown our little artificial Scotch Pine tree. At last, when I did see the gllittery star settle on the tip-top branch, I was elated to see it glow brightly with joy of Christ's birth.
Several weeks ago, when we had the fire incident, we lost our Christmas decorations. I have thankfully been able to salvage the sentimental items. I do not know if they can be cleaned and used again, but they will be kept! I could never let go of paper snowmen made in a kindergarten class, a little handprint engraved with "Steven," a clothespin angel with "Chris" written on its back, and homemade felt frames and clear, acryllic-shaped trees sprinkled with glittery images of my sons within. No Way!!! Though they are sooty and smoky, they will at least be stored with our most precious family belongings.
Included in our sooty collection of Christmases past is a tree topper. It is not a star. It is a lighted angel dressed in ivory tafetta with beautiful white wings edged with gold glitter. As a family, we always enjoyed the angel atop the tree. It reminded us of the proclaming of Christ's birth to the shepherds and the rejoicing of the heavenly beings as they recited, "Glory to God in the highest."
With the loss of our angel topper and other Christmas ornaments, my husband and I decided that a shopping trip was in order. We knew our temporary apartment home would never feel like Christmas without a tree and trimmings, so Jeff and I ventured to Walmart Thursday night and bought an inexpensive pre-lit tree, gold and red glass balls, sparkling snowflakes, and twinkling crosses, and tiny little angels.
And, yes, we bought a star to place atop our new tree. It seems made of iron and is covered in gold with clear lights embedded within. It will glow with joy, just as the tree topper did in my childhood Christmases.
After buying our new Christmas decor, we meandered around our city. I noticed no stars visible in the heavens. It was quite overcast here in northern Alabama, and fog had settled into the Tennessee Valley. Surveying the starless sky led my thoughts to the star, the shining heavenly ornament that graced the heavens and announced the birth of our Savior over 2000 years ago.
The real star of Bethlehem was an amazing sight! It brought awe and "exceeding great joy" (Matthew 2:10) to the wise men and other seekers when they beheld its glory in the heavens over Judea. That stunning celestial body proclaimed the path to a king, the King of all kings, Jesus, the Messiah. Though much speculation is made about its cosmic components, the nitty gritty of its make-up matters little. What really matters is the spiritual significance of the star. It is beautifully powerful. Its prophetic praises move my soul.
For those in ancient Judea, its shining was a testimony of the One, real Light Who had come into a dark, depraved world. Our Savior, the Son of God, the sinless One, came to sinful earth to suffer, to be our Redeemer, and to rescue us from evil and death.
Our personal, kinsman Redeemer, Jesus, the Holy and Anointed One, the Son of the living God was then proclaimed, is now proclaimed, and will forever be proclaimed Savior of the world.
The Greek word for Savior is Soter, and the Greek word for save is sozo, which means to protect, heal, preserve, to make whole.
Christ came to save you, and He came to do even so much more. Being saved is only the beginning, and the depth of the Greek word sozo reveals God's dynamic plan for your abundant life.
We are saved by grace through faith. We are saved, delivered from our sin and brought to the kingdom of God's light. We no longer have to fear dying and going to hell. We are no longer slaves to sin. We no longer have to settle for isolation, intimidation, and incompletion. God, in His sovereignty, is in control of our lives.
He gives us great promise for our earthly journey. He gives us a pathway to an abundant life of healing. Jesus delivers from turmoil and leads us to peace and wholeness.
"To make whole" is not only to be delivered from sin, but also it is to be brought to completeness. Jesus came to this world not just to purchase our souls, but to heal our lives, to mend our broken hearts, to give us a sound mind, to give us abundant living: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. *
The star, the heavenly symbol placed in the heavens to give divine proclamation of the birth of the King, also glowed with the greatness of God, illuminating lives in ancient Judea, and it remains today in our hearts, leading us to the truth and riches of God's kingdom.
Yes, today, the star of Bethlehem shines. The star is still ours to behold. It remains visible in our souls. It glows unhidden, uncloaked by our Creator. Shining forth, giving light, and telling truth to all who will look upon Him. Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the Light of the World, our Savior, is present with us to bless, to heal, to deliver, to make whole.
Yet not everyone looks upon the Star. Many refuse to see Him at all. And not everyone who does look upon Him believes. Not everyone who sees Jesus sees a Savior. Some see Him as an interuption in their busy holiday plans. Some see Him as a controversial icon. Some see Him as a wise teacher worthy of quoting. Some see Hin as a simple carpenter wtih great ambition. Some see Him as a madman. Some see Him only as a man who somehow made history.
How do you see Him today? When you see a Star adorn a tree, when you look into the heavens, when you hear "Jesus" spoken, when you read His words, when you hear, "Merry CHRISTmas," What do you really hear? Whom do you really see? Do you see Him for the King He is? Or do you see Him in obscurity, unsure of His power, beauty, and grace?
As a Christian what does your soul bear? What do you want from Jesus? What thoughts make your heart burn with burden? What is lodged in your spirit like a seed in your tooth? What mountain holds you back from shining as God's child?
Does peace seem impossible? Does exceeding joy seem elusive? Does holy vision seem blurred? Does something feel broken? Do you need, dear friend, "to be whole"?
Jesus is the Star who eternally shines with healing power! And, . . . healing love!
Reach out to Him and grasp the love He has for you this season in your life. Christ's love will make a miracle out of the mountain that stands in your way. You can remember this Christmas as the time your life changed forever.
Look on Jesus today! See His Star that proclaims truth to all nations and to all people and to you! By believing Him, through trust in His name, by following the path that proclaims Him Lord of All, you, too, will be like those of ancient Judea and everyone who calls on His name. As you receive His abundant life and allow His authority to rule your heart, you, dear friend, you will rejoice with hope and "exceeding great joy"!
*The fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22
Research is from e-sword.