Christmas is a Standing Invitation
by Julie Branch
I love this season of the year and the message it sends to all. Christmas is a standing invitation to come out of the cold and into the warmth of God’s love.
Charles Swindoll put it in these words: Like tiny frightened sparrows, shivering in the winter cold, many live their lives on the barren branches of heartbreak, disappointment, and loneliness, lost in thoughts of shame, self-pity, guilt or failure. One blustery day follows another, and the only company they keep is with fellow-strugglers who land on the same branches, confused and unprotected.
We try so hard to attract them into the warmth. Week after week church bells ring. Choirs sing. Preachers preach. Lighted churches send out their beacon. But nothing seems to bring in those who need warmth the most.
Then, as the year draws to a close, Christmas offers its wonderful message. Immanuel. God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Sprit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.
In spite of this, however some-in fact, most-still keep their distance. It happened when He first came; it happens to this day.
Nevertheless, Christmas comes again. And again. And again. The story of Bethlehem’s carols, return to the same manger, watch the same bewildered couple, Mary and Joseph, as they caress their firstborn, and we stand in awe for the umpteenth time…and it never grows old!
Why? Because we all know what it feels like to shiver on the frozen branches of our world, rejected, wounded and scared…because each of us can remember when we finally flew into the warmth of His love…and because we keep hoping that maybe, just maybe, this Christmas will be the one for some sparrow we love to come in from the cold. (The Finishing Touch)
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