In John chapter 14 Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
It's what He came for. Born to die. Came to leave. We have the assurance that He has gone to prepare a place for us.
I've been following a blog for many days now. I prayed, along with thousands, that little baby Samuel's life would be spared. This morning, the doctors were going to take him off of life support. Should God call him away from this earth, I believe there is a place prepared for him in heaven.
I've been praying for my friend's family. Suddenly losing their daughter--at age 43--the day after Thanksgiving is not what they'd expected. Still, the Lord prepared a place for her and this Christmas she is caroling with the angels.
So if He was born to die, do we not owe Him honor? If He came so that He could leave and make a room for us, are we not called to respect Him? And at Christmas of all times. The shepherds knew what to do. They left what they were doing immediately and went before Him. The magi--though they came later--were on a mission from the very time they knew a Savior had been born.
Our Christmas involves getting gifts. . . and giving gifts. We have good food and family and tradition. I don't deny any of that. I practice all of those things. I get just as caught up in the magic of a sparkling tree as any child I know. But it became a crusade--if you will--of mine, when I was not quite an adult, to make the Christmas Eve service at church my most important tradition.
Had I married a doctor, a fireman, or a sanitation worker, instead of a pastor, it wouldn't have changed the fact that this family--my family--goes to church on Christmas Eve. What if we all threw a party in honor of someone's birthday and didn't include the person? What if we read the story of Christ's birth and gathered the family He gave us around and watched a Christmas classic and ate a turkey but we failed to come together, as a body of believers, in celebration? Well, it just might not seem like a birthday party.
I just never want the Lord to look down upon His own birthday party and wonder where I am. I don't want Him to think that I thought I had better things to do than worship Him on the night He was born to die. For me. For you. For baby Samuel and for my friend's daughter.
He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). I can certainly light a candle and sing songs in remembrance of that night so long ago. Christmas is magical. In our home it begins with celebrating the reason we celebrate to begin with.