Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Christmas Eve Conviction
Sometimes God just gets into my space; and never more than today during my "sacred space" on this Christmas eve morning. And not once, but twice did He intervene. It began when I read my friend's blog. He's been posting an Advent devotional daily since the season began back on Dec. 1 and I have anticipated each one. They have all been good and thought provoking, but today's "did its work in me."
He writes, Most of the nativity scenes we see put up before Christmas have all the characters standing except for one. The last character to arrive in the contemporary manger scene portrayals is the main character. The last one to arrive is traditionally placed in the scene on Christmas Eve. Jesus. The child. The One whose purpose was to save you and me and everyone else from their sin. The One whose purpose was to change the world. Jesus. How strange it is that above all the names we know, His name is the name we are least likely to use in the normal conversations of our day. http://billjourneynotes.blogspot.com/2013/12/advent-xxiv.html
And I wondered, how many times have I shared the name of Jesus during this holiday season. Yes, I have wished many people "Merry Christmas," but have I shared the Christ of that Christmas? Have I shared the WHY of His coming?
I then turned in Ann Voskamp's book, The Greatest Gift, and read her writing for this 24th day of Advent. Whereas I'm a true Voskamp fan, I must say she outdid herself with this one. Pulling from Luke 2:1-7, Ann camps on the words, "And the time came." Time came for all the glory to be left in heaven. Her words are graphic. "And the face of God turns one last time in the waters of the womb, and the membrane breaks and the amniotic fluid leaks and the skin of God slips naked and small and holy into hands He made.
"The birth of God -- who can find words? This defies words."
She continues: "Love had to come back for you. Love had to get to you. The Love that has been coming for you since the beginning -- He slays dragons for you. This is the truest love story of history, and it's His-story, and it's for you."
How can we NOT use His name in "the normal conversations of our day" as my friend wrote? How can we NOT tell people about this Christ who loves them so much? In fact, Ann challenges her readers to do exactly that: "Go into all of the world and tell one person about the greatest Gift and how He loves."
And so I purposed to do so this morning. Anyone who wished me a merry Christmas, I purposed to tell them how much they are loved. And so I did, and I have been nothing short of amazed at the responses. The young man sitting behind the counter of the Honeybaked Ham store with a blanket wrapped around him to stay warm wished me a merry Christmas. I returned the wish, then reached out and touched his arm, and said, "I just want to tell you that the Christ in Christmas loves you so very much." His eyes widened, his smile grew larger, his shoulders relaxed, and he said, "Thank you, ma'am. Thank you very much."
Later, I sat across the desk from a bank official while she issued me a new bank card because mine had been "compromised" in the latest Target scam. When we finished our business, she reached across the barrier to shake my hand, and she said, "I hope you have a merry Christmas, Mrs. McLendon." Again, while still clasping her hand, I looked her in the eyes and responded, "Merry Christmas to you. And I just want you to know how much the Christ in Christmas loves you." But this time, not only did her eyes widen, they filled to the brim with tears as she said, "You don't know how badly I needed to hear that today. Thank you so very much."
Why, dear ones, do we refrain from letting that precious name depart from our lips? Why do we withhold the source of love when people so desperately "needed to hear that today"? I don't know either. But won't you purpose with me, not only this Christmas season but throughout this new year, to tell one person, and then another, and then another about the greatest Gift, as Ann says, and how He loves.
At least that's MY Christmas eve conviction.
Just an ordinary moment...