Preparing for Christmas

December 18, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

nativity-scene_webOne of the great things about Christmas is the anticipation that is generated as we get closer to the actual event. As a kid I remember marking the days with our advent calendar (and fighting with my sister about opening the little doors). I remember sitting in church and looking at the advent candles– anxiously awaiting the night when the white one in the middle would be lit.

It seems like the season is constantly marked by certain events that lead us towards the big night. The buying of the tree (or the less rustic “putting together” of the tree).¬†Decorating the house. Stringing lights in your bushes (that never seem to work properly). Buying gifts. Watching Christmas specials (my kids were upset that I wasn’t glued to Santa Claus is Coming to Town the other night–¬† and I had to explain that I had seen the Burgermeister trip on that duck 37 times before!!). Making Christmas cookies. Reading the Christmas stories from Matthew and Luke.

All of these activities are part of a preparation process we engage in each year. And that got me to thinking about God’s anticipation of the first Christmas. You see, the arrival of Jesus was not some spur of the moment stop-gap measure to redeem mankind. It was the result of an incredible preparation process that began– well, it began before the foundation of the world. Check out what Paul says about it…

Ephes. 1:4-6
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love [5] he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Before the foundation of the world, God had his eye on me! And the preparation is seen throughout the Old Testament. One day a Messiah would come and right all the wrongs. He would undo the mess of sin that happened in the garden when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (see Gen. 3:15). The nation of Israel, the Law of Moses, the sacrificial system, the exile to Babylon, the rise of Rome– all of these events were a preparation for the time that God would enter the world.

It must have been unbelievable in the heavenly realms when the time had come. The anticipation must have been incredible. Angels delivering news to shepherds, heavenly hosts praising God, a star guiding travelers from far away.

What was the excitement all about? God was doing the impossible. Here’s what Paul says about it in Galatians 4:

Galatians 4:4-7
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, [5] to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. [6] Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” [7] So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

God the Father gave us his son and his spirit and he makes us his own. He tranforms us from slaves to sons. And this was something he had prepared for and anticipated for a very, very long time.

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One Response to “Preparing for Christmas”
  1. Rick K says:

    Thank you for this reflection, Doug. It is really a comfort knowing that all the events of history from all time are all operating with God’s ultimate plan in mind. Its exciting to realize that we are recipients of the benefits from His plan and God knew about it long before we existed.

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