I exhaled slowly and let myself enjoy this rare moment of unexpected quiet in my classroom. All the students were seated and self-engaged, whether with their schoolwork or with their phones – but either way the result was a quiet room – an anomaly in a high school for sure. The class had not started off this way though. There had been a big commotion in the hallway outside the classroom due to a fight. Consequently, the students who entered the room were riled up and ready to continue the mayhem, or at least to continue discussing it loudly. This made the quiet I was now experiencing all the more surprising. It must be a Christmas miracle!
No sooner had I given thanks (silently of course) for the peaceful, quiet atmosphere of the classroom than another student entered the room and the spell was broken. He was loud, said everything he thought in a really loud voice and the other students responded to his remarks in equally loud voices. He was out of his seat and soon other students followed suite, leaving their seats to wander the room. It was a completely different room than the one this student had walked into only minutes earlier. I watched the transformation take place before my eyes, noting what a difference one person’s presence can make. This student had interrupted the classroom’s calm by bringing his chaos into it when he made his appearance. The classroom never did return to its previously quiet state. It was permanently altered. I was glad when the bell rang, dismissing the students.
Yes, one person’s presence can make such a difference that people are forever changed. When that person is Jesus, the difference is dramatic, life changing, life giving and permanent. Jesus’s birth interrupted this world in such a big way that things here have never been the same since He made His appearance. Time was torn in two when Jesus entered into our physical realm and into our history. And Time is not the only thing that has been torn in two because of Jesus.
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry and saw how He died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’ ” (Mark 15:37-39)
The tearing of the temple curtain took down the barrier that separated a Holy God from sinful man. Jesus came to make a way for us to be reconciled to our Creator, God. And as it turns out, Jesus is that way. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” (John 14:6) But now, we do have access to the Father through Jesus! Consider what Hebrews says,
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Jesus came to be that “new and living way through the curtain” to God, for each of us. With the Advent of Jesus arrival on that first Christmas so long ago, things here on earth have been forever changed. Jesus brought life and light into the world. John tells us,
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Jesus’s presence brings a glimpse of God’s glory to earth for all to see. There was a man named Simeon who waited long for just such a look at God’ glory, revealed through His promised Messiah. Simeon’s faithfulness in waiting was rewarded when he beheld the baby Jesus with His parents in the temple courts. This was his reaction,
“Simeon took Him (Jesus) in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:28-32)
Simeon knew that because Jesus had entered the room so to speak, human history would be forever altered. His presence is just that powerful. When I invite Jesus into my life, I am changed by His presence. I am inevitably transformed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Some two-thousand years ago, Jesus interrupted human history. Lord, this Advent season I pray You interrupt me, get my attention, transform me and take up residence in my heart.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
time to let the King of glory in!
sincerely, Grace Day