Thursday, December 11, 2008

Twelve Days for Christmas: Day 1

Today’s reference:
Warren, Rick (2008). The Purpose of Christmas. Howard Books, pp. 1-9.

Rick Warren begins The Purpose of Christmas with the question, “Why is Christmas such a big deal?” He has a point. In a world that so often denies Christ, there is still a tremendous stir this time of year. With December 25 less than two weeks away, many people are feeling this stir in not-so-pleasant ways. If that is you, I have one word for you . . . breathe.

You may be reading this in the middle of a busy office or in a heap of exhaustion after a day you thought would never end. Whatever your circumstances, I invite you to stop. Just stop. Before you read another word, close your eyes and take one deep, gut-raising breath. Go ahead, be extravagant – take two!

Now, where were we? Oh, yes; I believe it was the book of Luke:
There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!

My attention goes first to the state of the shepherds. They were sore afraid. Sound like anybody you know these days? From job woes to jihad, we face many reasons to be terrified. The world seems to be spinning faster and faster – any day now, things will start flying off into space under the momentum. Evils we never dreamed possible have become the stuff of everyday headlines.

And lo, just as the light of angels cracked the darkness over Bethlehem, Christmas comes, bringing its sudden and singular message: Fear not! The purpose of Christmas will always be the bestowing of the Greatest Gift. Rick Warren points out this Gift is priceless. It lasts forever. It is indispensable in the here and the hereafter. But like any other gift, it is useless if left unwrapped beneath the tree. I pray the moments we spend together here will be an opportunity to unwrap your Gift anew, to be dazzled again by the brightness and beauty that filled the night sky so many years ago. The wonder is still ours for the pausing and asking.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9:2, NIV.

Discussion Suggestion:
What terrifies you these days? What do you need to stop and lay in the hands of the Savior?


Denise said...

Bless you for having this study dear one. As for the discussion questions: My husbands lack of work, and my health problems weigh heavy on my mind, but I know the One who holds the world, can, and will help me carry these burdens. He will ease my load with His love, and care. I thank Him for that.

Glenda said...

What do I need to stop and lay at the hands of the Savior? Well, to put it simply, my life. I know that as Christians we KNOW this and it sounds so basic. But have realized that I need to stop worrying about making my life worth the giving to Him. He has made me this way, because He wanted me this way. And what he wants from me is ME... just me. I may not look shiny and exciting, but I am exactly what He wants to use in His special plan. It doesn't have to make sense while I'm here in this tent. One day it will. So, I need to stop looking at all the other presents under the tree and just beam over the way He handcrafted who I am.... Someone please remind me of this later. I'll need to hear it. Like it or not.
Bless you Gail!

Willow said...

This is a wonderful series for you to share with us! I'm so excited about it.

Terrifies me? My son isn't saved, first and foremost. Insecurities about marriage and my value to my husband. I am praying and laying them in the hands of the Savior every day.

durochka said...

What you wrote is so important and so helpful and so beautifully written! I love what you wrote today. I am very concerned that I will need hip surgery this new year, and I don't have the resources to be out of work that long. I also pray for my son a lot that he comes to terms with his life problems, and comes to know just how much God loves him. I also think about some dear friends, who are struggling with their own issues, and pray for them.