The Invitation

The candles on the kitchen island are lite. They make the house smell like cinnamon and clove. The tree is decorated. Outside lights are hung and the handmade manger graces the porch.

Gifts have been shipped; amazingly most have already reached their destinations. All that is left is baking for our neighbors – blueberry banana bread, cookies, and perhaps pumpkin scones.

My Christmas list has been checked, cross-checked, and nearly completed. And it is only December 12th!

I’m not bragging, well OK just a little, but I am pleased – just a little proud.

Each year I long for space during the Christmas season, an opportunity to slow down and focus on the object of our celebration. However, I typically run uncontrolled right up to Christmas Eve.

So, having the list nearly complete so early in the month is a big deal, nearing miracle proportions. Have I mentioned, I am proud?

Call me a slow learner, I’m in my early 60s and just starting to understand that Christmas was never meant to be a race. It was never about finding the perfect present, or giving the perfect present, or even receiving THE perfect present. It is not a contest – attempting to outdo the neighbor’s decorating skills, or holding the best party, or cramming as much as possible into an already overloaded schedule.

Christmas has always been a simple invitation.

2000 years ago a baby was born. He rested in a simple manger, surrounded by the animals that shared the stable stall. His parents were ordinary people – a carpenter and a teen mom. They recognized this was a special child, yet I am willing to bet they did not fully understand who this child would become. His full identity was yet to be discovered.

Thirty short years later, family and close friends surrounded this same child. This time the stable gave way to a hill. Instead of lying in a primitive manger, He hung on a hand-carved cross. This time life would slip away – “Father forgive them…” (Luke 23:34)

Christmas is an invitation. The Baby Jesus, turned living Savior, reached through eternity to offer a relationship, intimacy with God.

This Christmas, I will be taking time to sit at Jesus’ feet. My Bible will be open to the manger scene and I will follow angels and shepherds, disciples and Pharisees, a mother and close friends until we land at the base of Calvary. I will watch as our Savior is crucified and placed in a rock tomb. I will celebrate when the tomb is found empty and our King returns to heaven.

At Christmas, God reaches into our hearts and offers freedom from the brokenness and bitterness that we’ve accumulated in this life. He asks us to trust him, lean heavily on him, and accept his loving sacrifice.

I encourage you to accept this amazing invitation today. It will change your life for eternity.

Merry Christmas His BeLOVED,

“That is my prayer for you this Christmas – that you would experience the fullness of Christ; that you would know in your heart the outpouring of grace upon grace; that the glory of the only son from the Father would shine into your heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ; that you would be amazed that Christ can be so real to you.” – John Piper

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