A Time of Preparation

Lord I don’t feel religious this morning, not that I ever really feel religious but I think you know what I mean. Today I seek to experience your peace. I will spend time now in quietness. Please allow this music to draw from my memories the thoughts and images that will cause me to know your presence. Amen

3 Hours of Christmas Music | Traditional Instrumental Christmas Songs Playlist | Piano & Orchestra     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DlD7-TykIU

SCRIPTURE: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=4
 • Isaiah 7:10-16  •
 • Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19  •
 • Romans 1:1-7  •
 • Matthew 1:18-25

In getting ready for the Christmas event each of the texts can be held like a mirror in front of us. Isaiah tells us of King Ahaz. He was the son of Jotham. Jotham was a godly king wanting to lead his people into a godly state. He reminds me of the words used during election time about being one nation under God. Much of the religious jargon became exactly that. It was in this kind of an environment Ahaz took over as king. Words quickly melt into the culture and mean one thing but are understood as something else. As I read this I wonder who I am, who I have been and now who I am becoming. Is there a bit of Ahaz in me, perhaps there is a bit of Ahaz in all of us. The words that come easily at times become so hard to live out. The society we have become has in part developed a kind of schizophrenic aura. The message being sent causes confusion. Ahaz was asked, tell me what you want. Ahaz responds. It is not for him to tell God what should be. So God responds. I will give you what you need, a savior. This savior will point you back to where I am.

The Psalmist cuts to the quick. Restore us, let us be saved. The Psalm often reflects the words and spirit of worship.  If Ahaz had wanted to turn to God worship would be the starting point. I confess the reading and writing of these meditations has often caused me to understand the call to be focused on God and ultimately to a calling of walking with God. Turning toward God is not a one time experience, rather like a revolving door it is a coming and going, living a daily life and then experience a return to God for insight and illumination.

The Apostle Paul gives us an understanding of just what this position is like. We are not abandoned to the world, to the ways of our society. There become a series of declarations identifying who we are becoming.
We are set apart by the Gospel-
We are set apart to a spirit of holiness-
We are recipients of grace-
We are to belong to Jesus Christ-
We are called to be saints.
There is no mistake, the world Ahaz lived in, the world the apostle lived in and the world we live in share in a common struggle. As I write I am reminded of the significance of the Christmas season. If only for a moment we have the freedom to leave the negative and brokenness behind perhaps we can be touched by the holiness that the Gospel seeks for us.

Matthew tells us the story of the birth of Jesus. Here in lies the beginning of a journey perhaps where we will even now experience the miracle of a new way, a renewed way, to experience God.

May you in this coming week find the time to slow down, to turn from the secularism that has become our time and experience a new time, a time of peace, a time to focus, a time to rest, be renewed and be filled with joy.

A closing song: At four years old my son told me this was his favorite song.
Joy to the World Claymation Christmas Classics

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