Shownotes: How Will You Come Up for Air at Christmas?
Getting to Christmas
We had our final Advent service for this season yesterday, a reminder that we are not there yet—not there at Christmas, not there at the second coming of our Lord. We still look, anticipate, hope and prepare with joy and hopefully, come up for air..
One week to go, one week before Christmas.
It’s a journey to get there, especially if you are a pastor or other ministry leader with specific responsibilities at this time.
If yesterday was a big day for you, it’s time to come up for air before plunging in again. If it wasn’t, you may still want to come up for air from all your preparations for next Sunday.
Christmas Eve and . . . Come Up for Air
Next Sunday! Christmas Eve. A big day. For many, regular worship in the morning, and then Christmas Eve service(s) in the evening and night. A busy day this day before Christmas Day.
The day before. The night before Christmas and this brings us to worship and remembering and expectation for, exactly what do we expect when we are so close to Christmas . . .?
Christmas Eve night services with the expectation of the mystical, the glory, the joy. There is something within us that looks for that which tells us, “this is different. This is big.” If will be leading the worship, you are aware of the expectation and even if you don’t want it for yourself, you want it for those who come.
Who comes? The regulars. The not so regulars who come because . . . well because it is the thing to do, after all it’s Christmas; who come because . . . there should be something different about Christmas; who come seeking that special . . . elusive . . . something that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you know it when you feel it. when you are in its presence.
It’s that special something that comes in the songs, the readings, the presence of people joyously gathered to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world—their Lord and Savior. It’s there because he was born.
Yet you feel the pressure to ensure it is there. But, can you?
Perhaps coming up for air would clear our vision to see what we cannot see with our heads buried in preparation.
Come Up for Air – See and Listen
What made it special for the shepherds was the angels and their message. It was an out of the world experience that no pastor could have given them; then seeing the star, the Christ, the baby, the Christ, being filled with wonder, praise, messages from out of the world that must have seemed, well, just out of this world. And it was.
The Word became flesh. Wow! Can we convey that?
It’s a yes and no, isn’t it? We can seek to create an atmosphere that opens the possibilities that yes, God does come down, angels do come and bring their messages to us that we might go and share with praise and joyful hearts, but first, we must come up for air and move past our efforts and breathe, and let the breath of God fill us anew so that as we convey the timeless message, it may reach the hearts of those who are seeking . . . they know not what, but something, something special that lets them know, lets us know that yes, it was a different night, a holy night of wonder and joy; a night when hope took shape before their eyes in the form of a baby. Imagine that—a baby!
That was all it took, but the shepherds knew and they went away different from how they had gone to that stable. New life was breathed into them.
Breath. Breathing new life at Christmas Eve. It doesn’t have to be a chore. It really doesn’t and it wouldn’t if we would just come up for air and listen, not so much to the angel’s song, as compelling as it was and is. Yes. We do need to listen to it, but when we come up for air we must listen to the Spirit. “God, what do you want me to say to your people? What is the message and how do you want me to convey it?” because you see, Christmas Eve is Christmas Eve but . . . this is 2017. God is still speaking and God has a message for this time, this season, but if we do not come up for air we may miss it. You wouldn’t want that, would you? I know I would not, do not.
Mary Did Come Up for Air
Air. So necessary. We run the danger of thinking that our supply of air is enough. It seems so. We can do great things with our own supply. However, with our own supply, we run out of the life-giving breath; even the diver’s tank runs out of air. When we run out of the life-giving breath that is God’s, what we do and how we affect and touch those assembled, rarely goes past what is seen to the depths their being where only God can reach and change. You were called for more.
This Christmas, be sure to come up for air. Come up now, if you haven’t already done so. Christmas Eve is coming. A time of joyous celebration and praise to God for Jesus Christ, the anticipated Messiah, Savior of the world is born, in the world, in us. An invitation for all to confess their sins and receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ to live fully and freely with confidence, peace, and joy . . .
We’re almost there and yet we wait, for this Savior will come again . . .
Will come and we wait and remember that Mary also waited after the angel burst through with the announcement. She had a nine-month wait. After the announcement, Mary came up for air and yielded: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
In the face of something so stupendous, so incredible Mary released whatever built up inside of her when the angel spoke in Luke 1 and in verse 38 said those words of surrender that were basically a prayer and left it up to God. How, what, why . . . All of those details, but . . . “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Sometimes coming up for air lies in recognizing who God is and who we are before God. God, sovereign one. We, servants. What’s the struggling about? Pray. Breathe. Listen. Then let it be as God says. That’s key in living from God’s center—being in that place and space where we are spending time with God in prayer, the Word, listening, receiving, and resting in God. It’s a place where we come up for air. We get direction and sometimes we are led to another person.
And Mary came up for air when she went to see Elizabeth, her older cousin who was on a similar journey of the improbable, nay, impossible. Air from the shared experiences; air from the counsel of a woman of God who was older; air as she spent some time away from the prying eyes and questions; air from the confirmation of Mary’s words and the blessing she pronounced; air that inspired Mary’s prophetic song of praise that continues to inspire us today: Luke 1:46–55.
This begs the question, to whom does God send us when we come up for air? To whom do you go for counsel, confirmation, and blessing on this journey, at this Christmas time so that we are filled with praise, with prophetic insight that allows us to declare who God is, what God has done and what God is doing now. That lifts up the fallen.
December 25th—almost here. But, before that, December 24th, Christmas Eve filled with opportunities to worship, to praise, to remember to be inspired anew, to love and experience something so special that while it will not be like the first time the angels made their announcements and sang their song, it can still be different, for it is . . . different. It is the birthday celebration of Jesus, Messiah, Lord, who has come and will come again.
Preparing. Anticipating. Hoping. Rejoicing. These all find their best expression when we take the time to come up for air. When we live from God’s center.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:20
The angels are singing, Mary has come up for air and the shepherds are gone with the news. It’s time. Come up for air and go forth and bear witness to what you have seen and heard.
No podcast next week, but we will be back the following week so that we start right in 2018.
When you reflect on and finish preparing for Christmas Eve, remember it is not about you or the people who gather, but about Jesus Christ; come up for air and let the Spirit take control.
Photo credit: TaniaVdB / Pixabay.Com
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