Thursday, 26 November 2015

Look and Listen

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
(Rev 3:20) NLT

Summer abundance. Gratifying days of planting, watching things grow. Little hands learn to press a new seedling down gently as it is seated in the soil. Letting my own hands sink deeply into a warm, fragrant pile of compost (and ignoring the tell-tale ache at the small of a "repaired" back). New winged visitors find their way into our garden, and we listen wide-eyed to their calls and conversations. And then just as sudden as the summer heat, another misty day arrives. Bringing respite and rest from hard work.

Indoor days are meant to be gentle, and for most times they are. But there are "those" days... Like when I find myself outside a bedroom door, the sound of it's slamming still ringing in my ears. Deep breath. A little hurt at being "shut out" so easily. Too soon there may be more than just a door between us. But for now, a gentle coaxing (or a not so subtle threat at times), still gives me access, and I am allowed to hold all that precious softness once more.

My message today is an impromptu one, and I hope to keep it short and unedited. As we are nearing a season of heightened busyness and hype, it is once again so easy to shut Christ out of Christmas time.

It is not the distant story of baby Jesus that we celebrate. It is the reality of the living Christ, who was born into humanity in the most humble manner. As helpless babe. God came near in flesh and form of a man, but always remained God.

Peter said it best. "We were eyewitnesses of His majesty". His Majesty. The emperor of Juda. The soaring eagle of eternity. The noble Admiral of the Kingdom. All the splendour of heaven revealed in human body. For a period ever so brief, the doors to the throne room were opened and God came near. His Majesty was seen. Heaven touched earth and as a result earth can know heaven.

Those who missed His Majesty's arrival that night, missed it not because of evil or malice; they missed it because they simply weren't looking and listening. And maybe because they were too busy?

It is easy to get caught up in all this busyness. Even if you live on a hill in the mountains. The keen young man who helps me in the garden looked at me yesterday, uncharacteristically lugging rocks and directing various projects like a conductor leading the orchestra to a climatic finale. "You making it nice for Christmas?" he asked. "No Joseph", I answered, "it is for every day of looking after this special place." But he did get me thinking.

Jesus not only longs to make Himself known to those who do not know Him, He longs to be known by those who do. He knocks and listens, hears the clatter of pots and pans, the tingling of money being spent, the sound of suitcases being packed and shut for holidays. The sound of busyness.

The busyness in itself is not "wrong". It is when it overcomes us and takes first priority that it veers towards a place where awareness of His Majesty is lost.

How our Lord Jesus' heart will sing if the door is opened and He is invited to share this time with us! God still draws near, is always near, but we can only experience His embrace and live His presence if we stop and acknowledge it.

Invite Him into the stress of getting everything done on time. Invite him into the planning and anticipation for everything to fall into place just so. Invite Him into every moment. But most of all, let's invite Him into the celebration, as the center, the motivation and the reason why we are free to celebrate.

It will be the best Christmas ever.

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