My walk into work early this morning was a brisk one, and a firm reminder that winter is upon us…and that I need a toque. People walked speedily to where they were going and hands that normally swung free or operated personal devices were tucked tightly in pockets. I was joined together in a current of people trying to keep warm and get to their offices as soon as possible. Then I noticed one person who wasn’t part of our rush of human bodies. She was sitting on the ground and slowly rolling up her sleeping bag; visibly cold. Amidst the hustle to get somewhere warm and get started on my daily objectives, it was easy to rush right past her, and I did.
But then, realizing the prickle in my heart wasn’t winter’s icy fingers, I turned around and went back. As we began to talk, it was obvious that life had been unkind to the woman and after I had gotten her a coffee and listened to a bit of her story, she responded by letting me pray for her. As I mull this over now, I realize how easy it would have been to miss this amazing opportunity that God set up for me this morning. This glorious moment that God orchestrated for me to reflect some of his love and tell of the eternal hope that exists beyond our temporal existence. The tears that streamed from Brenda’s face as I told her about our loving Father let me know that she had either never known this, or that she had forgotten.
As we enter the Advent season, it’s can be easy to forget the significance of it when there is that office party coming up, that tacky sweater party your friends are hosting, that ski trip, that Black Friday sale, that holiday to plan, that list of presents to get or that time together with the family. But this isn’t what this season is about.
Hidden in the songs that drone on in the background of this season is the reason for it all. Take Silent Night for example:
Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Or my all time personal favourite song, from the definitive Christmas album (imho), Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M. If you haven't heard it you need to go and listen to it now, but here are some of the lyrics from the refrain:
(Oh my Lord) You sent your son to save us
(Oh my Lord) Your very self you gave us
(Oh my Lord) That sin may not enslave us
And love may reign once more
(This day will live forever)
Oh my Lord (So praise the Lord)
They had become to doubt you
(Oh my Lord) He is the truth forever!
What did they know about you
(Oh my Lord) So praise the Lord
But they were lost without you
They needed you so bad (His light is shining on us)
God sent The Light (Jesus) because we were in the dark! Advent is a celebration of the fact God sent his son Jesus because of all these other things that contend for our attention this season! These other things cannot and will not give us meaning. They cannot and will not satisfy us. Nor will they quench, deliver, fulfill, define, or save us. God sent his son because we needed rescuing!
Now as those whom God has “delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13), we have been called and commanded to go and shine the light as well. Go and tell others of this hope.
God sent Jesus not because Jesus was going to gain anything (the Trinity was complete in itself and lacked nothing!). God sent Jesus because of the overflow of what he already had! In light of this, I want to urge us all to keep our eyes open this Christmas season. Remember that God sent his son into our dark and cold world to give us himself, and look for the opportunities that are around you this Christmas season to give of your time, talent, and treasure so that the world might gain a glimpse of the love that God has for them.
If I hadn’t have stopped this morning I would have arrived at my warm office sooner and gotten more work done, but I would have missed an opportunity to tell someone of the Father's love. If we don’t stop or take notice we might have more time in our day, money in our bank accounts, peace and quiet, less stress, etc; but, we would miss an opportunity to point someone to Jesus. We would miss the opportunity to give of ourselves to meet someone's needs in order to reflect how God gave of himself in order to meet our ultimate need.
God sacrificially gave of himself so that we would do the same. Jesus said that he could only do what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19), and he calls us to do what we see him doing; giving of himself! Ephesians 2:10 says that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works”, and that “God prepared them beforehand, that we should walk in them”. This is why we are here. To point people to their saviour! With words and with deeds, but my prayer for us this Christmas season is that it would be with both. I pray that the Holy Spirit would open our eyes up to the cold elderly lady sleeping outside in the cold, the single mother who has no food or presents for her kids, the foreigner who is just arriving here, the person who has no one to share a holiday meal with, the drug addict who needs someone to show him (and tell him) that Jesus loves him so much that he died for him!
Remember that it was not us who went seeking God, but God who came seeking us. Let’s make this Advent season all about the glory of God and let’s look for every opportunity we can find to make Jesus known!
Josh is Westside's Church Planting Apprentice and helps to oversee Community Groups. He is married to Rebekah and has two daughters, Temperance and Evangeline.
A new blog post from Josh Dool called 'Tis the Season. What is this season really about? Lets take a look... https://t.co/vrmzcFhRfZ— Westside Church (@Westside_Church) December 4, 2015