We had a wonderful time at Watermark Assisted Living yesterday afternoon. If you are interested at how we put things together for the nursing home outreach, I will be posting a few more of the videos of our caroling over at Walking With Lambs later on today. We had folks come from not only the assisted living, but also memory care and independent living. It was an especially touching experience, and I so appreciated all the new volunteers who showed up to make this possible (even Mr. and Mrs. Santa along with their granddaughter elf!)
In today’s crazy world, we need to rest in Jesus Christ, trusting that no matter what is going on, that in His presence there can still be a silent and holy night. We can still find the baby lying in a manger and we must still treasure those moments in our hearts.
And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:16-19 ESV
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10 ESV
Today we begin the first of four caroling events at various Senior facilities in our area. This is our small part in carrying the same message of joy that the angels brought to shepherds 2,000 years ago. Others will bring it to children, some to prisons and some into the marketplaces of our world. The message never changes though every generation hears it in a different way. Jesus came into the world to find us, heal us, shed His blood for our sins and call us to live our lives for Him. We may not know the answers to why the problems and sorrows of life have happened, but God’s message is that Jesus came in the middle of them all and He came for you and me! Now that is definitely a hope that brings comfort and joy! Have a blessed Sunday everyone and pray for our outreach at 2 pm this afternoon!
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men[a] from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 NLT
Back in my home city, many of us call January 6th, “Russian Christmas” because our precious Orthodox friends celebrate that as the day when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem. A closer reading of the Bible; however, leads us to believe, that it took close to two years for them to make their journey. Though it all began with a star which everyone could see, only a few followed it to come and worship Jesus. Are you looking for Jesus this Christmas? Then let’s check out three things that the wise men did.
“The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask!!” my science teacher often said. Too often we try to appear smarter than everyone else by pretending that we know the answers. Maybe the one thing that made the men in today’s verse wise, is their sense of wonder and willingness to ask. Our search for Jesus, only begins, when we are willing to ask where to find Him and there is no better place to look for directions than the Bible. While at Christmas time it is customary to go looking among manger scenes and shepherds, the Bible says that the best place to find Jesus is at the cross. The wonder of Christmas is not about a sweet cuddly baby, but that God would send His only Son to die for people like you and me. In fact, the angel told Joseph that He was to be named Jesus, because He came to “Save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
But the wise men needed to do more than ask questions. There were many people who saw the star and asked about it, but only the wise men, packed their bags and began the long hard journey. They left behind their familiar, comfortable and safe homes, to search for a king. Faith means coming to Jesus, no matter the cost. Worshipping the baby born in the manger at Bethlehem was not a popular thing to do, in fact the wise men were warned by an angel that they needed to hurry home before King Herod had them arrested. But wise men are willing to keep going no matter the difficulty, because finding Jesus is more than worth anything we suffer along the way.
Last of all the wise men had to knock. When they finally came to Bethlehem, they wouldn’t have just burst into Joseph and Mary’s house. They had to stand outside knocking and waiting for someone to open the door. Can you picture the scene? There is Joseph meeting them outside on the porch, leaning on the doorpost and wondering at the caravan parked outside on the street. There are the wise men, dismounting from their camels, dressed in flowing ornate robes, begging to come in a see their son. Inside, Mary picks up Jesus in her arms as any proud mother would do and she turns with a smile to show them Jesus. One by one the wise men remove their sandals, wash their feet and then bow to the ground and worship. Will we be ready to do the same? Are we prepared to take off our shoes, kneel in His presence and offer our very best in worship? Of course, we cannot pay admission into God’s presence, but no one who truly finds Jesus comes empty handed. We eagerly offer all we have, knowing that He is worthy of so much more than everything we have to give Him. Come with the wise men this Christmas. The door is still standing open today!