It’s here! The empty manger is now occupied with the Savior of the world. In many circles, the manger in nativity scenes is left unoccupied until Christmas Eve. But tonight, all is well and a change has occurred that will permanently change the trajectory of mankind and our relationship with God.
Through the birth of Jesus, who will eventually sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world, we will be able to spend eternity with God in heaven. And that plan of redemption all started with the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the fields.
Last night, on Christmas Eve, we lit the Christ candle, the tall white candle in the middle of the Advent wreath. After waiting patiently for more than a month of the Advent season, we have studied hope, peace, joy, love and now the wait is over. Jesus has arrived. Mary and Joseph have arrived at the stable and Mary has delivered the Savior of the world.
His impending arrival had been announced by the Old Testament prophets, especially Isaiah, and these prophecies have now been fulfilled. As the day of celebration comes to an end for another year, we are called to be transformed by the presence of Jesus and all the traits that He exemplified throughout His life.
We will now celebrate the twelve days of Christmas – signifying the journey of the Wise Men to see the baby Jesus and worship Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Epiphany will be the day of the their traditional arrival in Bethlehem.
The main thing we have learned this month is that Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation. Now the wait is over. A new way of life has started and the New Testament records the ministry of Jesus.
The Gospel of John reminds us of the arrival of Jesus and that Jesus was also present in the beginning – the beginning of everything. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the “ex nihilo” beginning – meaning something from nothing. We are told that God was there in the beginning and the “Word” – meaning Jesus – was with Him. Our verse for tonight highlights John’s words about the arrival of John.
Our verse for tonight tells us, in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus waits patiently for us to receive His gift of eternal life. My prayer is that we will start to look forward to a year from now. After all, we have the joy of celebrating this most holy event each year. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…