Summary: Christmas is an experience that is intended 365 days a year. It was simply launched when Christ was born.
Wynonna Judd – Christmas album
“Christmas future is far away
Christmas past is past
Christmas present is here today”
Song goes on to say “Have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”
Christmas is an experience that is intended 365 days a year. It was simply launched when Christ was born. Sadly, Christmas has become nothing more than a few days before December 25th when even the hardest hearts and most callous spirits find some room for a little generosity and kindness to strangers. It likely explains why most of us would like to have Christmas stay around much longer than it does.
If Christmas is intended to be an expression of daily life rather than a dated event on the calendar, how does one live Christmas365 and recapture what it was meant to be? How does one be “the aroma of Christ…”?
The answer is wrapped up in the word CHRISTMAS.
CHRIST Manifested, Acknowledged, and Shared
• Manifested: revealed
• Acknowledged: means “to recognize the authority, validity, or claims of” (Dictionary.com, 2006) – we have personally applied the manifestation of what has been revealed
• Shared: a basis of experience
I. Christ Manifested
• Learn through the shepherds again who were there that night when Jesus was born. They represent us – consumed with life; outcasts; separated from God; looking for a Deliverer.
• “A Savior has been born” – Christ manifested
• No Christ – No Christmas; no manifestation of God; no redemption from misbehaviour; no remedy for broken fellowship with God.
The manifestation of God, through Jesus Christ, is a mystery that cannot be explained nor fully understood. Scholars have been writing and studying for centuries this mysterious account of God wrapped in a blanket and we continue to seek to understand it more than what we know, to pull it closer into our reality. Among the multiple writings and researches attempted, one scholar offered a wonderful insight as we gaze at the Christ in a manger. “What impresses a thoughtful person as he looks on an infant is not its futility but its possibility, not what it is but what it is going to be.” Then the scholar cites that familiar Isaiah 9:6, “…the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
It is not a small matter that when this Child was born His birth re-dated time from that day of His birth! It has been noted that “every time a date is affixed to a letter, bill, check, receipt, or legal document fresh acknowledgment is made of the fact that the birth of Christ is the watershed of human history.” It was His birth that forever impacted every life, every priority and continues to create dissension and discord between itself and other religions of the world because His birth is the defining difference between religion about God and being in relationship with God. No one else claims to be God in human flesh. The revealed presence of God in Christ has caused a stir from that day to this, and it will continue to be so until He returns for the Church, which is given the metaphor in Scripture of a groom coming for his bride.
The upswing, positive message of God revealed in Christ is absolutely breath-taking! There is nothing more wonderful that having someone very close to you in the same space as you find yourself. When I was involved in study for today I was in the home office which is in the basement. I could hear Glenys busying herself on the next level and while it was good to have her in the same house, it is even more wonderful to be in the same room. This is something like that picture painted for us by an author who wrote “To believe that God is above us is one thing. To believe that God is a strength sufficient for us is another. But to believe that God…is with us, God the near, the understanding and the intimate – that is best of all.” When you’re washing dishes or cleaning house; when we play Monday night hockey and exchange laughter in the dressing room; when one lies in a hospital bed waiting for someone to attend to a need; when we stand over the remains of a loved one departed – God is with us – intimate, close, near and understanding – that is best of all!
When we feel a Presence that cannot be explained with words but leaves a deep abiding sense that we are not alone, THAT is Christ Manifested to the human heart! When you sit in worship with God’s people and a deep emotion shocks you and arrests your heart so that you can do nothing but sit in silence or cry or feel your heart race when singing praise – THAT is Christ manifesting himself to you!