When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshiped him. - Matthew 2:10 NIV
Well, it’s Christmas Eve, church family! And what a few months it has been. What a season to be walking through. I am continually drawn into the story of those searching, seeking for the Messiah, our Yeshua, our Christ. The ones who kept watch, together, following words and prophecies and teachings and senses in their spirit of where they needed to fix their eyes, anticipating with desperate and hopeful hearts… Will we find Him, the one who will save us?
I find it unreal-mind-blowing-amazing-so-totally-brilliant that GOD’s CREATION… a star… signs and utterances in the heavens… were pointing in the direction of the King, a guiding light there for ALL to see but meaning ever SO. MUCH. MORE. To those who were seeking him. I find it also so interesting that in the year that feels like a new turning point in darkness, despair, loneliness for a lot of our generation, what is said to be this very same star shows up again after 800 years; like a beacon over all. Not only that, but. It comes at the same time in our calendar as the longest, darkest night of the year.
“The Star… it went ahead of them.”
Maybe. For some of us these last 10 months have felt different in a hopeful way. But I have a feeling that for a lot of people, especially those who don’t know Jesus, this has felt possibly like the longest, darkest night.
...Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. - Matthew 2:11 NIV
Then, they opened their treasures. Opened their storehouses, opened their arms to the hurting and broken world… Come, come and see! The ones who have seen, have known His LOVE and Mercy, reaching out to a broken and chaotic world, embracing the times and laying down hearts to get out the great Gospel message… not only has he come… But HE. IS. Here. Now. Right now. Let us be like stars in the night, pointing to our HOPE, the lamb of God who takes all the sins of the world onto himself… Come, and see.
I have no gift to bring, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum...
I know I have often felt, especially as of late that I cannot be the light that I desire to be, to all the ones I desire to reach. But, God is so faithful in being God, isn’t he! He is so faithful to fill all of the places where we lack and continually be the God who reaches out to his children in care and provision. The greatest treasure we can bring him? If we bring Him what we have, bring him our hearts, broken and bleeding, bring him our joys and celebrations…our sorrows and our confusion. Invite him into all the places we go, into every conversation… if we bring him a broken and contrite spirit… our offerings great and small. What does he most desire? LOVE. LOVE. With all your Heart, mind, soul, strength. LOVE. He desired so greatly to walk with us so we could learn to walk with Him, that he became flesh, reached down from the highest heavenly places, and paid the ultimate price… for LOVE. The Creator living in his created, to ultimately be slain and betrayed by it but never ever turning His heart from the LOVE he set out for. What. A. Mystery.
Gold, Frankinsence, Myrrh… I have also loved the symbolism and parallels in these gifts offered. To obtain them is a process of mining, refining. Blood sweat and tears. Beating, bruising, leaking. Ripping and tearing of plant and tree flesh… extracting. Pain gives way to the most precious and pure offerings, making something beautiful. Kind of like human life.
Pastor Britt recently asked me if I would record a couple of songs for her youth Christmas celebration, and I was honoured in her asking. All of what I am sharing tonight started spinning in my mind and heart when we recorded these songs, these offerings because… what we had that day, what Dan had. What I had. What we could give… out of our tired yet willing hearts… all that we had to give was what he had given to us in the first place; our hearts of worship. It’s been a season for all. But. As it says in Hebrews 6:19-20:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Praise GOD that we have this hope. Praise God that He sent his son to redeem our fallen lives. Praise God that he humbled himself to be born into His creation SO THAT we could live not just here on this earth but have a place at His table for all of eternity. Praise Him for his compassion, and praise Him for his grace. Praise Him that he is faithful to equip the saints to go out into the earth and spread His good news; hope! For all who call out to Him. It’s CHRISTmas, everyone. Be filled with His LOVE. Be guided by His light, and be propelled by His spirit into this grace-and-mercy-laden life.
I love you, church family. May His light in the heavens, the God who sings over us, shine so brightly over you tonight. Hope these offerings are a blessing to you. Merry Christmas!
O Holy Night – Words by Placide Cappeau | Music by Adolphe Charles Adam
Translation by John Sullivan Dwight CCLI #32015
Noël – Music by Chris Tomlin | Ed Cash | Matt Redman CCLI #7050419