My wife and one of my daughters had just left our home to go Christmas shopping, and I had the home to myself for the next few hours. I began to think about all the events that were coming up and the shopping I still needed to do. I'm going to need a vacation in January just to recover, I thought. My mental calculator was going into overdrive trying to figure out how to stay within the budget and still make everyone happy without breaking the bank.
In the middle of this I had the thought … keep it personal at Christmas.
I thought this is strange, everyone knows that Christmas is a time of shop-till-you-drop and go until you can't go any more. But the thought of keeping it intimate and meaningful at Christmas persisted.
I mediated on this thought of intimacy in the Christmas story. I soon realized just how personal Christmas truly was. First, we have a young girl named Mary, who has an encounter with an angel. After a brief discussion, she agrees to have a child by the Holy Spirit … and an individually private and wonderful thing occurs, she conceives (Luke1:26-38).
Mary's soon to be husband, Joseph, has his own face-to-face visit from an angel of the Lord who informs him as to what has happened, and encourages him to marry Mary ( Matthew 1:18-25) .
We all know the next part of the story found in Luke 2:1-18. There was no room in the inn; the place was packed with people, not a private place at all. Eventually a small, intimate shelter was found. It was a stable and there the birth of Jesus took place.
Later, shepherds showed up, telling of an encounter with angels and they came to see what God had done. The thing I would like to point out is there were only a few shepherds, maybe as many as 12. In other words, there were a few personally chosen people who came to the stable that night.
Then, in Luke 2:25-38, a great example of the affection and individual relationship God desires with those who love Him takes place. Simeon, a devout and righteous man and Anna a woman who worshipped God day and night have a life-long desire fulfilled. They have their personal time with Jesus. This happened in the middle of the
Finally the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) who traveled from the east and they sought out the King of the Jews. When they found him, they had an intimate time of worship.
So, here in the midst of one of the greatest events of all eternity, God takes time to be personal with His people, to those who had an intimate relationship with Him. God's desire for mankind is to have a close relationship with Him. He waits patiently for us. Take time in the midst of all the shopping, parties and events this Christmas season to spend some personal time with Jesus.
Remember that Jesus wants to spend time with you. Just, take a few minutes, get still, and invite him to come as you wait on him. If you do this, you will find a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God. You will also find a truth in Christmas that will change your life.
©COPYRIGHT 2011 RICHARD SPANGLER