Advent is the season of miracles. And oh how many of us are longing for a miracle right about now? It has been a tough couple of years and we are weary and waiting – not unlike the people were when Jesus was born. They had been waiting long for their promised miracle, and they were weary with the wait. Oppressed by a tyrannical king, Caesar, they longed for Someone to set them free. However, when that long awaited Deliverer arrived, they did not recognize that the miracle they had prayed for, was now in their midst. And because they did not recognize Him, they did not welcome Him, they did not make room for Him.
“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11)
Today I have to ask myself if I am ready to recognize and to receive the Advent miracles God is giving me this Christmas. Or am I failing to recognize the miracles made possible by just a mustard seed of faith? I don’t want to miss out on any of Advent’s miracles, starting with the miracle of reconciliation. Reconciliation is always a miracle because it requires heart change. And heart change is always a miracle.
We have been hopelessly separated from our Creator God by a chasm too great for us to navigate ever since Adam and Eve chose the serpent’s lie over God’s truth. It will take nothing short of a miracle for anyone of us to be reconciled to God. But God will have to be the maker of the miracle, the supplier of the solution, because there is nothing we can do in our own power to cross this chasm or to eliminate it.
And that’s just what God did – He became the maker of the miracle of Advent that would save our eternal souls. We couldn’t find our way back to Him, so He came to us and made His home with us for a little while, so that He could show us the way to reconciliation and relationship with Him. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he explains it this way –
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:13-18)
Did you notice how many times peace was mentioned? Peace is the result of reconciliation. When we are reconciled to God and to one another we experience peace. It is said that “charity begins at home.” Well, that is true for reconciliation also, as it is with all things actually, they must begin at home. How many of us long for the miracle of reconciliation within our families this Advent season? We want to see those mountains moved. If only we could find that mustard seed of faith! And something else –
Forgiveness. Forgiveness forges the road to reconciliation. Forgiveness is the prerequisite, it always precedes reconciliation. Without forgiveness, reconciliation doesn’t happen. Forgiveness is the foundation for the miracle to take place. How many are praying for reconciliation with loved ones this Advent season? We want to see walls come tumbling down just like they did in Jericho many millennia ago. That event was a major miracle, attributable only to the work of Almighty God. Repaired relationships are no less of a miracle and no less a work of God.
God reconciled us to Himself that first Christmas when He sent Jesus to us to be our peace. I pray we can each experience this miracle of reconciliation and the peace that comes with it, this Advent season. This world is in dire need of peace right now, but then perhaps in every age that has been the case. I pray the reconciliation that starts in homes will spread to neighborhoods, then to cities, then to countries – bringing peace around the world, just as the shepherds announced on the first Christmas –
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) God made the first move when He sent us Jesus.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Not counting my sins against me? That’s the forgiveness that allows me to be reconciled to my Creator. That same forgiveness allows me to be reconciled to others. And that reconciliation brings me such peace! Truly a miracle! Let the forgiveness I find in the arrival of the Christ Child fill my heart, let it fill every heart, tearing down long standing walls, making a way for reconciliation to enter in, bringing restoration of relationships and peace. Oh, how we long for peace! How we long to hear from long-lost loved ones! How those empty spaces in our hearts long to be filled by their presence! This day, in this season of Advent, I hold these words of Jesus close,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
the Prince of Peace will fill my heart today, if I will but let Him in –
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
sincerely, Grace Day