This is Part 2 of a three part series of blogs that help us look into how we can make the most of the Christmas season.You can read part 1 here.
Come back to the FOCUS blog page next Tuesday and read part 3!
“What are you looking for?” the store attendant asked as I thumb through hangers in a clothing store. The typical response, “O, nothing really.”
It wasn't always like this in Dubai, but the bustle of shopping at Christmas has become overwhelming as retailers have figured out the money-making opportunities surrounding this holiday. Now, one can even hear the words of anticipation in the song over the public speakers, “O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel!”
Hearing these words in the mall makes me think about what people are anticipating during the Christmas season. For many, it seems the answer is like mine in the retail stores: “O, nothing really.”
Was there anticipation in that first Christmas? Like today, it varied person to person.
- Isaiah predicted the coming “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel,” and had been told that “he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
- Mary was expecting the child within her womb, of whom the angel had said, “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
- And the wise men were looking for the one “who had been born king of the Jews”. And “when they saw the star [that led them to Jesus], they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”
But there were those who were not anticipating. Among many were those who should have been looking for the Savior. The priests and scribes who told Herod where the Messiah would be born went about their business, not at all interested that the wise men has traveled all the way to receive this new King. And Herod himself, not only was uninterested in worshiping the Christ, he wanted Him dead, and would kill the children of an entire village to ensure it!
John 1:11-13 describes these responses in the introduction to his eyewitness account of Jesus: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Believing in His name is understanding who he is and what He has done: “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Today we are not awaiting the Savior into the world for He has come! But we remember His coming, and what that visitation accomplished.
So what are you looking for this Christmas? Are you anticipating the Savior?
This Christmas receive Jesus, believe in his name, and receive life!