Christmas

 

Yesterday, while driving around doing my last bits of Christmas shopping, Christmas music from Z88, our local Christian radio station, played on the radio. As I rounded a corner, the song “Mary Did you Know” was reaching its highpoint, asking Mary, the mother of Jesus, if she realizes that the baby in her arms is actually the God of creation, the all powerful and loving God who came to earth save us.

As the song came to its climactic conclusion, with the last words reminding Mary that the child asleep in her arms is the great “I AM,” I looked through the front window at the car in front of me and was astounded at the license plate. The lettering on it began with three letters: “IAM.”

“Ha,” I thought. “Okay, God you got my attention. You want me to focus on Who You ARE! Yes, Christmas shopping is fine, but you don’t want me to lose sight of the fact that the Great I AM came to us at Christmas, humbling Himself as a little baby so we could identify with Him and catch hold of the Light He brought into the world to save us from the darkness around us.”

I drove to a strip mall and continued my shopping. About an hour later, I pulled out of the parking lot, and there in front of me was another car with a license plate with lettering that began with “IAM.”

Wow! Was God trying to tell me something or what?

“Is this a sign from you, God? A message from you?”

As I wrapped Christmas presents that evening, went to a Christmas service, and continued thinking about what had happened, I saw that God was pushing through my Christmas routine to remind me of Who He Was and why I celebrate Christmas to begin with. He wanted to keep me focused on His Greatness, His omnipotence, and the revelation of His love at Christmas!

It’s so easy to get lost in the haphazard commotion of Christmas preparations so that the darkness of the world’s priorities begins to seep into our thinking. We get angry because someone in front of us waits at a stop sign too long. We get frustrated over the long lines at the department store. We “lose it” because the scotch tape runs out before we’ve finished our wrapping.

And for some of us, desperate circumstances have already caused the darkness around us to grow so intense that we are blind to the light that tries to break through. Christmas is merely something to manage until it’s over.

But if we look up and open our eyes, perhaps we will see that in His message of “I AM” He is telling us I Am the all-powerful God—more powerful than anything that comes against you. I AM your all-loving God, who loves you in the midst of hateful or hurtful messages. I AM the all-knowing God, who knows all about you and your circumstances. Nothing surprises me or keeps me from knowing what’s best for you. Trust Me. I came at Christmas time because I love you.

If we open our hearts and whisper a prayer, thanking God for His gift of life to us at Christmas and inviting Him into our lives, perhaps we will see the Christ Child—that baby in the manger—beaming His light of love on us to guide us through the shadows. As scripture tells us in both Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 4:16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

The name of that great light is Jesus, who is not just the baby in the manger but Almighty God. Pastor Matt Heard reminded us of that at the church service last night. When we whisper the name of Jesus, we invite that light into our lives. Then we can know the great IAM, the light of the world, who dispels the darkness and leads us into truth and grace.

 

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