What are you hoping for this Christmas?
Our theme of ‘hope over fear’ has been explored through the multi-layered book of Revelation, and then built upon last week through Iain’s message about ‘a great light’ (Isaiah 9… Matthew 4:16) – we believe this great light is Christ.
This has brought us nicely into the Christmas season. We have journeyed through the heart of God’s redemptive, hope-filled message which is prophetically explored in the book of Revelation. Explored through John’s visions and supernatural Heavenly encounters, I think it has many rich themes. This main message of redemption is centred on God’s son, Jesus who holds all in all (Colossians 1) – in human form, we first read of his entering into this world as a baby through the nativity scene. Redemption kicks off with the light of the world, as a baby, in a manger.
Our all-in service on Sunday – as per tradition – will be centred on this message of hope and light which I believe is at the heart of the nativity. It is much more than a nice story to reflect upon. God wants His Word (Jesus is the Word – John 1) to dwell in us richly (Colossians 3) – we know that our faith comes from hearing and hearing from God’s Word (Romans 15).
This is an ongoing, relational, life-changing invitation to more than meets the eye. Sometimes our eyes aren’t focused. Sometimes we are trying to look blindly. The light of Christ seeks to restore our Spiritual eyes.
What is your response when you face an unexpected challenge which feels like darkness engulfing you? Where do you draw your strength from, when things go “pear-shaped” and seem hopeless?
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul writes:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
You see the light of Christ is underserved but so life-giving. The life of Christ helps us, through the Holy Spirit, to perceive things spiritually which cannot be seen in the flesh. We become more cognisant of the spiritual realm when God pours out his wisdom and revelation to us and enlightens the eyes of our heart (Ephesians 1). Wisdom and revelation are always found in the light.
The light of Christ is also an invitation to a path, a journey, a life-long following (John 8). A path in which we are not the boss. We don’t call the shots. Are we willing to bow before our King Jesus afresh this Christmas? Before the baby in the manger who lived as a man and died for all of our sins. You see – when we come into His light we relinquish control. Not that we ever really had control, to begin with!
The light that Christ shines desires to make us more and more like Him, for that process to kick on, we are invited to let His light lead us.
Psalm 18:28 says
28 For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness.
What is your response when you are given a gift which you didn’t expect? I’m sure we have all received a Christmas present at some point, which we didn’t expect!
When Jesus was born, I don’t think there was a lot of expectation that he was going to be ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1).
When Jesus grew up and claimed to be King, I don’t think He initially met the expectation of the disciples as to how He would rule over the Roman empire.
I think there are so many expectations that we consciously and subconsciously have about God and even His plans for us, His plans for QP, His plans for Govanhill and the surrounding areas, His plans for Glasgow, Scotland and so on…
I encourage you as you reflect and pray, to follow the light of Christ. The Holy Spirit desires to take you by the hand and lead you into the unknown. I liken this to Google Maps! God knows the destination – we don’t. He lightens the path, one turn at a time. I don’t think we would handle knowing every twist and turn, far in advance. Not only would it overload us, it may even overwhelm us. As well as shining His light before us, God’s timing is perfect. God is inviting you to focus on the next turn that the Holy Spirit highlights – ask God to show you more of His eternal perspective and to help you to keep going through the unknown & the unexpected.
This may not be a practice you expect to be associated with your devotional time, perhaps it already is! I encourage you to read it, say it, write it, sing it (potentially alone!..) and pray it (ask the Holy Spirit to reveal more of who He is through it). You can take any Bible verse and do this! Why not try this one?
12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”