Christmas is a celebration of the sacred – or at least at its core it is, even though the sacred can become buried beneath an avalanche of commercialism and all but forgotten if no one is vigilant to rescue it from beneath the mound of marketing and mayhem that surround this season. But the sacred is there for those who would seek it out – all the miracles that make up Christmas (which I wrote about in a previous post) from the virgin birth to a conquering King arriving as a helpless baby, are what we need to remember in order to truly understand this unfathomable miracle God has done on our behalf. Greater than the parting of the Red Sea or the raising of Lazarus from the dead – God leaving His infinite dwelling place of eternal glory, power, perfection, peace, beauty and majesty, in order to enter into our finite, temporal, broken, painful, chaotic world as a frail human being, is a miracle beyond belief. And yet that’s exactly what God did.
That’s the sacred miracle of Christmas that I never want to forget. Because when I forget what God has done, then doubt enters into those places in me that had been filled with faith. Remembering what God has done and remembering His Word – these two things fill up the spaces of my heart and mind with memories of God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness to me and with the truth of His living Word. It is only when I forget, that faith fades, leaving room for doubt, fear and deceit to enter in – able now to occupy the places left empty by faith’s absence. When I forget the truth, I will believe the lie!
This is why I must remember. This is why satan hopes I will forget. Because when I forget God’s goodness, God’s character, God’s faithfulness to me – doubt enters in and separates me from my Heavenly Father. Forgetfulness – that must have been what happened to the Israelites in the desert. God had just rescued them in dramatic fashion from Egypt, by parting the Red Sea in two so they could cross on dry ground! And then for good measure, God put the sea back together just in time to drown all the Egyptians who were pursuing them. But apparently the Israelites soon forgot this miracle of God, because not long afterwards they made a golden calf statue and began worshiping it. Certainly, if they were focused on remembering God’s mighty miracles on their behalf, they would not have done such a foolish thing?
This is what Christmas and Communion have in common – they are rituals of remembrance. They are celebrations of God’s goodness – celebrations of what God has done for us. We are to remember and to celebrate, so that we don’t forget. Because when we forget, we are prone to wander away from God just like the Israelites.
“The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
Those are Jesus’s instructions to His disciples. Communion or The Lord’s Supper is a time for us to remember what Jesus did for us. When I take Communion, I remember all over again that Jesus died in my place, paid my price, forgave my sins, came out of the grave on the third day and is coming back again for me. I am filled with hope and joy when I call these truths to mind and reflect on them. But when I forget the message of Communion, which is how much God loves me, when I forget the high price my Heavenly Father paid to purchase my freedom and secure my eternal life with Him, then I find I forget my identity as His dearly loved child, I forget my worth – I forget my reason for hope and I sink into despair.
Communion – remembering what Jesus did on that cross, keeps me connected to my Creator and to the truth. That’s what remembering does – keeps me connected, so I don’t drift away or become separated from my Heavenly Father. Christmas, like Communion, is all about remembering what God did for us when He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth. Christmas is about remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus. This celebration has been hijacked for centuries by cultures all over the world, adding their own traditions and events under the banner of Christmas – which at times threatens to extinguish the true miracle that we remember at Christmas, Christ’s birth.
Christ’s birth is a miracle of such magnitude, that it is by far the greatest singular event in human history. The Eternal Creator God entered into the temporal, the Infinite into the finite, Light entered into our darkness, the Divine came to dwell with the human, the Sacred Son of God entered into the profane, the Sinless One with the sinful, the Healer walked among the sick and healed all our infirmities, the Truth came to expose all lies, the Good Shepherd came to reclaim His flock from the evil one, Love came to triumph over hate, Life came to conquer death once for all – the One who is the way, the truth and the life came into our world to set the captives free! (that’s us – we are the captives)
Seems like we should be celebrating this event every day, not just once a year. For sure, we should be remembering every day just what great links our Heavenly Father went to, to rescue us from the death sentence under which we live since choosing our way over His in the garden. That’s the part of Christmas that I want to remember well – that Jesus came!
Prophesies were fulfilled, God’s promise kept, the promised Messiah arrived in God’s perfect timing. Remembering these truths is the reason I rejoice. It is the reason for my hope. Christmas Advent is a season of hope. Communion is a sacred call to remember what Jesus did in defeating death and therefore a call to hope, in Christ’s return and in His promise of everlasting life.
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:5)
That’s what happened when Christmas happened and our world has not been the same since.
“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)
Christmas and Communion – the King has come – the King is coming!
The King came that first Christmas as a baby in a manger. People were not prepared to receive Him. They hadn’t made room for Him. They didn’t recognize Jesus for who He truly was, the promised Messiah, so they didn’t open their homes and their hearts to Him. There was no room in the inn. There was no room in their lives for their long awaited Messiah.
“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God -” (John 1:11-12)
Let it not be so with this Christmas nor with Communion – the King has come! The King is coming!
I will not forget. I will remember, rejoice and celebrate with every Christmas, with every Communion.
The King has come! The King is coming! make a way, prepare Him room, throw open the door, lift up the gates, let Him enter in and make His home with you today and forevermore!
“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)
“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