The passage of time never fails to amaze me at the speed with which it moves consistently, yet when we keep time, counting graces as we go, we become avid watchers of the sands that drop through the hourglass of living. Advent season makes me slow down and watch, when I am looking closely at the marks that point the way. The key word, when, is profoundly important.
The days pass exactly the same in December as they do in January and February when it feels like they will never end; we are just waiting for different things.
We are waiting here, in this preparing season for the incarnation of grace to show. We are waiting for the coming of the King and His entrance into our reality; and it is eternal slow for the looking, yet imperceptibly fast in the moving. How is it we are always looking for tomorrow instead of seeing today?
I am learning the art of looking this Advent season. There is a power in the hushed anticipation that the looking precedes, friends, but if we aren’t careful, it can easily get lost in the mayhem of the preparing. The slower pace is making me consider the benefits of capturing hope-moments in all those hectic places rather than letting the stress of the busy steal grace.
What if this season we choose to let love adorn our dressing before we go to the party?
Rather than let the lists rule our celebrating, can we lend freedom to our agendas and take a break to enjoy the purpose of the pausing?
Will you join me in continuing this journey to the stable by seeking of the Light-star that shines redeeming love your way?
Redemptive love, through Christ’s entrance into our world, reveals the shadow of the Cross through the trestle of the manger. The message of Christmas, the incarnation of the Christ-child, reveals the power of heaped grace, blessings upon blessings, favor infinite, and layered gifts… the incarnation of grace is manifested as we come in awe like the shepherds and seek like the wise man and bow in humility to worship the King of Kings.
Think about that, would you? The semblance of simple is bound by the extravagance of heaven wrapped in swaddling ribbons and presented in humility. Laid in a trestle, dark and stark and the less-than-royal shelter for the animals, deemed unimportant to make room for , this baby boy, who came to save, was welcomed into this world… Emmanuel, God with us.
“It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word was made flesh’ ( John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the incarnation.” – J.I. Packer – Knowing God.
The first 5 verses in John’s Gospel arrest me. Every. Single. Time. I am compelled to share them here, to sound them deep and to make them the focus of not only my Advent journey this week as I wait for the coming of His gift, but to urge you to take time in their Truth as well.
In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word ws God Himself.
He was present originally with God.
All things were made and came into existence through Him, and without Him was not even one things made that has come into being.
In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.
And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it].
This is the paradox we find ourselves contemplating when we are waiting: Expectant Hope, Anticipated Joy, Delivered Peace through His redeeming… completed through the birth of Christ.
When we get it, truly get it…light dawns bright in our eternity.
The Incarnation of Christ makes sense of the Gospel message and answers the ‘how’ of the Genesis plan of redemption because it is the ultimate concept of God’s love wrapped in a constant gift we get to open every single day.
Because God loved big… we have the chance to celebrate the birthing of Christ in our heart every day.
December isn’t the only time we celebrate Christ-mas… worshiping His coming into our toiling and setting us free. Christ incarnate within our soul, rebirth by His Spirit, the third person of the Trinity present at Creation, revealed in Genesis and also in John 1, is the coming King whose entrance is a daily living testimony of grace in our lives.
His holy Word is a revolving circle of reason that relates the Truth over and over. This message of hope that is bold in God’s Word makes a trek repeatedly from the beginning story of life with His glory shroud over humanity to eternal life by the glory of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.
Advent starts, friends, with the preparation time but it ends with an anthem of glory. Matthew 3:1-12 lead us back to the same message, always shadowing the Cross in the story. Out of the wilderness of Judea comes the powerful message of repentance on which hangs the ornament of posterity, in a man such as John, who was set apart. He cried out, but He pointed to another, away from himself.
You know that when you choose a holy occupation, it draws a crowd to come and stare. And when you stand speaking boldly, you never stand alone, because God always prepares us for His coming. The outspoken for God always draw eyes to the message of Truth, which is Christ and His presence strengthens our standing strong.
And friends, even John questioned what he saw. Even this one who was filled embryonic with the third person of the Godhead, a man set apart on a holy mission who lived life undistracted by the world, was astounded by the Holy True so much that he even asked the promised heel-crusher of sin, the One born to be broken and bruised in the walking, ” Are you the One?”
We do the same when we look at the manger and wrestle with the incarnation of hope in this babe. All the hope we strain to grasp comes to us in the questions we ask. “Are you there? Is this your will? How can this happen? What am I to do?” We are reaching out for even a sliver of the anointed straw that held the swaddled bundle of love, and advent gives us something to tuck deep in the folds of our own swaddled hearts because the incarnation of grace was a wrapping of the long ago promise kept. It is a securing of our hearts when we choose the gift of Christ-mas every single day.
We the end-of-days dwellers, longing to see the promised again, like the faithful Abraham and the kingly David, all waiting for the Promised Redemption to manifest grace in our days. We carry the promise like the manger held its precious message. Hope birthed in the infant King of Heaven, fully God yet completely man, willful chose the temporal to secure eternal making a way for us.
Love moved the divide of the heavenly boundary to become the answer to Eve’s distress and end the separation which broke His heart. We remember His coming with anticipated joy because His redeeming love delivered peace through His righteousness, which only bent the straw that cushioned Mercy, yet demolished death by the sandal step of love.
We celebrate His Story, the answer conceived in grace which restored what was lost in the garden. Love… is the peace-gift we open with eternal implications today and everyday as we make advent a life journey and celebrate Christmas continual.
“And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth… And of His fullness have we all received one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessings and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.” – John 1: 14,16
Praying this journey to the stable meets your heart in abundance and may your Christmas be full of grace.
Download The Journey to the Stable Advent Journal here.
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Inspire Me Monday, Unite, #TellHisStory, #RaRaLinkUp, Coffee For Your Heart, ThreeWordWednesday, Grace and Truth, Missional Women, Essential Things Devotions, Faith n Friends Blog Hop, Dance with Jesus, Weekend Whispers, Give Me Grace