Go out and stand before me on the mountain” And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper – 1 Kings 19
A mighty wind, an Earthquake and a raging fire – in these ways and more the Lord God revealed Himself – He made Himself known – Elijah’s fire from heaven – a pillar of fire and smoke and the voice of God as the blast of the loudest trumpet. Then thousands of years later even after 400 years of silence…He came. I was inspired after hearing the song “Winter Snow” by Audrey Assad to consider how He came to us.
- He came in a way that no one could have ever expected a King to come. He could have come like a mighty storm bursting through the sky, lightening, rain and thunder
- He could have come like a hurricane tearing through the trees, breaking limbs and uprooting.
- He could have come like a forest fire with searing heat and smoke out of control consuming everything in His path.
- He could have could like a tidal wave flooding and defying the rules that say to waves “stop here”
- He could have come the way the Kings should come
But that is not how He came at all is it? He came like silent snow fall. No parades. No cheering crowds. But instead of coming with a lot of noise and the display of human excitement brought, He quietly brought Joy to the world. Joy is described in the Holy Scriptures like that of a war cry, a shout SHOWING gladness and rejoicing that overtakes our heart and that joy benefits us through encouragement of hope.
There is a joy that is caused by an occasion. A special moment – A wedding – A child’s first words – Good News like the birth of a child. This joy is caused not only by an occasion but also by a person. This person would be responsible for that joy; the One bringing the good news and it causes GREAT excitement! He is called Jesus! In the book of Luke 2 we read a very familiar passage that says…
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”
Did you catch that? Not just joy but “Great” joy; the word great is “Mega” joy and this joy is to All” people. Jesus knows what we need…better than anyone. He wants you to not only receive Him and experience the joy, peace and hope that he brings but but to hand over the reigns of your life and let him be Lord. And as Lord of our life we can true sing…
Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing
On Sunday, the magic of Christmas really shined through. With all the normal pressures and stresses of Christmas if you are not careful, you could miss the magic. For me it began Sunday. 3 high school students started off the service at church. As the string ensemble started off with “The First Noel”, I imagined myself walking down the streets of yesteryear, people wearing overcoats and top hats and on the corner a street lamp decorated with Christmas greenery and ribbon, maybe seeing Ebenezer Scrooge. It was a simple thing but it really moved my heart as the instruments sung, “Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel”.
Later that afternoon a group gathered at the church to go see the Festival of Lights in Charlotte. To many is may sound boring but it was magical. The first sight my eyes beheld was about 14 students with every sort of hat to keep their head and ears warm; from camo and the strangest most awesome rooster tail hat worn by one of the boys, students were running around laughing and smiling exhibiting some carefree joy in what has become a stress-filled season.
We all pile into vans a head toward the lights and on the way the kids are chattering away about the excitement of Christmas and even the unspoken, “I’m glad we are all together.” As we arrive at the speedway and pull in the gate we notice some more Christmas magic – snow. With that beautiful white stuff beginning to fall accompanied by some of the most amazing lights I’ve even seen I felt like a kid again. And not just strings of light everywhere but lights that told a story – everything from Humpty Dumpty actually falling off the wall to the 12 days of Christmas to Santa’s sleigh taking off to castles and more. My particular favorite was up in the stands; a light show that moved and blinked in time with a Christmas Radio station playing on the radio.
As we park, we move through the village of Bethlehem where a Nativity scene was set and villagers great us with, “Welcome to Bethlehem.” We move inside and just about everybody grabs some HOT CHOCOLATE. I was blown away by how it tasted – rich and creamy and of course very hot. It seems as though everyone in the place was smiling (except for one lady when I got in the way of her picture she was taking – oh well, Ebenezer)
Now I have to tell you that there was even Christmas Magic when we ice skated….on plastic. That’s right…a big piece of plastic. When we got there it was as though no one was going to go first so Zak went for it right away and I wasn’t far behind him. And let me say that it was tough. I tried and tried but it was tough and after about an hour a guy came on the ice and sprayed some stuff down to make it….you guessed it…slick. Until then I had not fallen so you can guess that shortly thereafter I was on my back,,,or front; but only twice. The rest of the time it looked like sidewalk surfing with an ear infection. And as hard as it was it was a magical, amazing time to spend with the students, watching them laugh and fall and wobble and for me to provide entertainment for ALL the onlookers – I could have charged money for the show and not have to work again.
It came time to make our way home so of course I needed to stop again for something hot to drink, this time coffee and as we walked through the doors to the outside the snow was really coming down. Even though I knew there was little chance for sticking much less accumulation it was beautiful. We mounted again in the van and drove through the backside of the speedway to view the remaining lights which were just as spectacular as the rest leaving me breathless and bid the lights farewell.
Christmas is Magical!
Max Lucado writes in his book “One Incredible Moment” these words – “a ragtag chorus of longshoremen, Boston lawyers, illegal immigrants, housewives and a thousand other peculiar persons who are banking that Bethlehem’s mystery is in reality, a reality. “Come and behold Him” we sing, stirring the sleepiest of shepherds and pointing them toward the Christ-child. For a few precious hours He is beheld. Christ the Lord.”
Can you see the magical Christmas now? If not from my memories of Christmas with the students or from this small excerpt from a heartwarming book, then from the hope that come to everyone in a magic time, a wondrous time – a time of good will, a time of hope, a time of joy that truly everyone can feel. I am reminded of one of the most hopeful passages in the scripture that comes from Luke chapter 2…
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth and good will to all men.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Joy to the world my friends – the Lord is come. Let the magic of Christmas and the hope that it brings warm your heart and give you peace knowing that He has come and He is coming again – returning soon to get His people and wipe away every tear, cure every disease and right every wrong. Make haste friends, make haste. Run! Seek Him! Come and see! Run to see this magical thing called Christmas and may the present that you receive this year be the Christ-child
I have shared my little piece of magic and the magic that Jesus brought to the world. What about the magic that you have experienced this time of year? Please share. Merry Christmas!