It was just an ordinary moment on an ordinary day when the child was born. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords arrived into this world not as one would expect a king to arrive. You might have anticipated the grandest of affairs. After all, he was the long awaited Messiah whose birth had been announced by the prophets many years before. Jesus our king had come, but not as expected and the world was not ready to receive Him.
The religious leaders thought they were ready. After all, they knew the law and carefully followed each of their man-made rules to ensure their own righteousness. They observed the Sabbath; they prayed as required, and went to the Synagogue to hear the Word of God. They were doing almost all they could to prepare for their coming King, but missed the most important part: preparing their hearts.
There was a young girl Mary, whose heart was ready to welcome her Redeemer. She had almost nothing to offer and yet willingly offered her all. Her response to the Lord’s call to welcome His Son was simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38) and with that attitude of heart, Mary would became the mother of Jesus, our Savior. As women, we like to prepare and plan, and nothing brings out that instinct quite like expecting a baby. The Bible says that Mary pondered in her heart what the angel had told her and despite all the uncertainty about what people would say and think, I’m sure the mama’s heart in her began to plan for the arrival of her Jesus. Where would they live? Where would he be born? What would the Son of God look like? How would she care for him? Not in her wildest dreams could she have imagined that the Light of the World would come in the cold and darkness of a stable, would lay helpless in a bed of hay in a manger surrounded by animals, instead of receiving the honor that He is due. His arrival would be the first of many times that Jesus would surprise Mary. There was nothing Mary could do that would prepare her to be the mother of this special child whose ways are not like ours, except to surrender to the greater plans of God.
Each year the Christmas season brings with it a time of preparation as we get ready for the day that we will celebrate our Savior’s birth. Lights begin to fill the streets and the malls become filled with shoppers searching for just the right gifts. Our homes are perfectly arranged, and the Christmas tree is decorated just so. Plans are made for family gatherings, the baking is done, a turkey is bought and Christmas cards sent. The list of preparations for the perfect Christmas Day goes on and on, and while traditions are good, there is something that is better: a day centered on the One who came to save us. Amongst all the preparations we have made, if Jesus returned this Christmas day, would he find a heart ready to receive Him?
The greatest gift in all of history is this child that was born. The Old Testament looked in anticipation for Him and New Testament believers look back on this moment in time to celebrate the birth of our King. In the quiet hours of this Christmas morning, I will make the most important preparation of all as I sit with my Savior and celebrate, just the two of us, what He has done for me. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but in the solitude of the night I will focus on the sweet truth that this great and wonderful Savior came as a babe in a manger to save me, and so I will worship Him. For unto us a child is born, unto us, a son is given… and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
The wonderful thing about Christmas is that it does not matter where, how or with whom you celebrate. The beautiful gift of Jesus is available to all, whether living in a palace fit for a king, alone and homeless on the streets, or in the darkness of a stable in the town of Bethlehem long ago. The Son has been given to us; all we need to do is prepare our hearts to receive Him.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas from all of us at Christian Women Online, may the joy of the season be yours.