It is so hard to believe it’s almost here!
Christmas is Friday! As a self-proclaimed Christmas elf who keeps Christmas all year ’round, it’s so nice to see the rest of the world has finally caught up with my yuletide cheer.
Before we get too excited about the mistletoe, gifts, and the end of laborious attempts to keep our Christmas trees alive, we have one more week of Advent.
This week’s Advent theme is love. Christmas and love go together like peas and carrots. They just belong together.
After all, it was love that brought Jesus down here to clean up our mess. You do know even at “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” life is still hard, right? And it was love causing God the Father to send His one-and-only Son into the world to save it (cf. John 3:16-19).
Today’s reading is John 1:6-8, 19-28.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.”
They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”
Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
It was love sending Jesus to this cold place called humanity. In a song by Chris Rice, he sang,
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world
“Welcome to Our World” Words and Music by Chris Rice © 1995 Clumsy Fly Music.
Indeed, welcome to our world. The celebration we are about to have is not a celebration of humanity, but one of holiness wrapped it humanity. It is not a celebration of presents, but of His presence. “This is love,” the Apostle John writes in 1 John 4:10, “not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
This week—in these final days until Christmas—do not forget to celebrate the love of God in sending Christ to us. The one for whom we are not worthy to untie His sandals.
Spend time this final week of Advent showing Him love and being thankful for the love He “demonstrates…for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Suggestions for reading and meditation through this week:
- Isaiah 7:10-16
- 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
- Micah 5:2-5a
- Luke 1:46-55
- Hebrews 10:5-10
- Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
- Song: “O Holy Night”
- Song: “Mary, Did You Know”
- Song: “We Are the Reason”
- Song: “When Love Comes Down”