This past week we received our first Christmas card of the year! So, it is official, Christmas is here, well, nearly here. For many Black Friday signals the beginning of the frantic preparation for Christmas. The secular world and commercialism brought this phenomenon into our horizon for the last ten years or more. Have you got the Black Friday anxiety, yet? Am I missing out on a great bargain?
So, how are you getting ready for Christmas? How is it going with planning, managing your time and finances, coping with COVID? You might feel uncertain if you can prepare for Christmas at all with COVID and vaccines, and all! Perhaps your personal list is even longer? There are plenty of things to be anxious about. No wonder that by the time you get to the 24th of December your strength is gone, your wallet is empty, you feel exhausted and wish to be over and done with this whole Christmas business. You hardly have got any more energy left to consider what Christmas is really about! That some two thousand years ago in a little town, called Bethlehem a baby was born to be the Saviour of the world. In him God came into your world that instead of such anxieties, fear, sin, hurt, and tears His peace and joy would rule and govern your life!
If only there were another way to prepare for Christmas? There is! You might find it a helpful reminder and encouragement for the season, as I did, God’s own word in Psalm 46:
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
If you read the whole Psalm, and I encourage you that you do so, you will notice a number of things.
Frist, that God Lord of all and in Him one finds stillness and peace in all circumstances!
You will also notice that the God is the Lord of Salvation. Although the powers of evil, and darkness and war try to rob us of life and joy, in God, through Jesus Christ, the Christmas baby (!) we can find refuge, safety, and strength!
You will also notice that God is the Lord of history. Nations can be in uproar and kingdoms might rise or fall, but when God raises his voice, the whole earth melts before His power! God is in control! He rules them all! The Christmas birth tells us so, the new ruler, the Prince of Peace was born in Bethlehem.
You will also notice that God is your personal God! He is your strong fortress, your personal stronghold who keeps you forever. He is with us! (verses 7 and 11). That’s His Christmas name, did you know that? Emmanuel – God is with us! How awesome is He?!
I encourage you to plan quiet days and evenings this advent, either alone or together with the wider family, when you will focus on God in whom you have peace, and security. Speak to him in prayer and praise, spend time listening to him, reading his message to you. Lift up your eyes and see where your help comes from. It comes from the Lord! Notice His great deeds in the world and in your life, notice that At Christmas he came to be with us in Jesus Christ. And give thanks to Him for coming after you!
Prepare for Christmas differently than the world! In the stillness and quiet you will hear what you would otherwise miss in the noise and the rushing! (What you might miss in the shops now, you will get them in the sale in January, anyway.) Listen, and hear the message of the Lord to you this Christmas! Be still and know He is God. He is your God!