Be wise and be prepared

Published 5:34 pm Friday, December 11, 2015

Among the many things that this season of the year brings to my mind is the necessity of preparation for all the activities and gatherings that are part of our celebration of the birth of Christ.   Even as I write this morning, the smoker is already at work getting our meal ready for a special gathering at our home this evening.  We have to be prepared for all those little feet when they hit the floor at Nana’s house for some good food and a few early gifts with their names on them that will be unwrapped before the evening is over.

What a joyful season it is despite the effort involved!

As I look across the yard at night, I get to enjoy the beautiful array of lights that our neighbors have so nicely displayed for our neighborhood to enjoy.

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As I observe that joyful scene with lighted trees and characters of the season for the children to delight in, there is an obvious image that we sometimes fail to remember this time of year—the cross.  As we rejoice in the Baby that was born in Bethlehem so long ago, we should all remember that that secluded manger was not His destination, for He was on a journey that led Him to the cross to die for our sins.  I am grateful that the young family next door saw fit to include a reminder of that very real part of what Christmas means.

When I survey the Bible and pay attention to the many things that transpired leading up to the birth of Christ, I find preparations taking place at many points in time that allowed things to come together just as God intended.  Galatians 4 reminds us that it took place perfectly according to God’s timetable:  “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (verses 4-5, New International Version).

The Bible includes prophetic preparations that were made as the birth of Christ was foretold long before it took place.  Although those prophets that God used—Isaiah and others–did not live to see their prophecies fulfilled, their Spirit inspired words allow us to have confidence that Christ’s birth was not a mere earthly coincidence or an anomaly in nature; it was a marvel of God never to be duplicated.

God also used historical events to facilitate His plan.  Most of us grew up being familiar with the beautiful words recorded in Luke 2 regarding the birth of Christ; Luke included in that description the detail of the decree of Caesar Augustus requiring everyone to go to their hometown to register.  This was used by God in His preparation for Christ’s coming to earth; it resulted in Mary and Joseph being exactly where God wanted them to be at exactly the right time.

We must not overlook the preparation of the hearts and minds of Joseph and Mary as God gave them a most unusual assignment.  Although it must have been an alarming experience, they submitted to God’s plan and we are forever blessed as a result of it all.

We all know how wise it is to make our preparations for celebrating Christmas.  It is even more essential for us to allow God to prepare our hearts to be available for all that He wants to do in us and through in response to what Christ has done for us.