Monday, December 17, 2007

Our Christmas Story - Part 2

Christmas Future – Our Home

I love it that through scripture we can take a trip to the past, to gather hope for the future!

Yesterday our definition for a baby was that “he makes the past forgotten and the future worth living for”. Today we will see that the message of Emmanuel, Jesus, the baby King, is that “He makes our past FORGIVEN, and the future worth living for.”

The infant Christ gives us a future worth living for because when we make a choice to believe that he is the Son of God, who was sent to free us from sin, then we will get the privilege to someday celebrate His birth in heaven, God’s home, sitting at His table, sharing Christmas with Him face to face!

Home…another word we can add to our list of words that describe what Christmas means to us.

You’ve heard the words, “I’ll be home for Christmas…If only in my dreams”. As my little family has literally moved across the country in the last 10 years I have had to re-think and re-adjust my concept of “home”. When someone asks me where I am from I sometimes struggle. I am an Arizonian by birth, I love Texas, I am raising two little natural born Texans, and I have a growing love of the Southeast. Home to me is where my family is…but even that is hard as my family is scattered! Home is a soft place to land. For me that’s being in the presence of those whom I love. What if my parents no longer lived in Arizona? Would Arizona still be home?

I have come to realize that home is a place of heart. Here is what helps me when I struggle with the concept of Home:

“But our citizenship is in heaven.” Philippians 3:20

God’s Word says that for those who choose to believe in Christ our citizenship is in heaven. Arizona is where I was born, but it is not my home. When our family moves on from our little corner in the southeast my heart will break. I will grieve as I did 9 years ago when my parents dropped us off at the airport bound for Texas. I will feel “homesick” as I still feel now for Texas. But this baby called Emmanuel gives me, and you, a future worth living for! And it’s bigger than Arizona…and if you can believe it…it’s bigger than Texas! (Do I hear an Amen?!)

The future worth living for is eternity in God’s home.

We can anticipate a grand Christmas with Christ because right before he was about to be arrested, beaten and crucified he speaks to his disciples and says:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:2-4

Christ is saying, “Trust me!” There is a future for you!” Our future promise: Emmanuel- God with us!

When we choose to believe that that sweet baby King is who He says He is we become royalty in Him. He gives us a future worth living for in heaven, where we will celebrate His birth and life and sacrifice with Him!

It is OK to anticipate and look forward to it! As a matter of fact is meant to give us great encouragement. We can learn from Abraham, known for his great faith in the Lord. He was asked by God to leave the land of his father. He packed up his family, left the only home he ever knew and lived life believing God was who He said He was. And in the book of Hebrews we are reminded that Abraham anticipated the day when he and his family would all finally live in their true “home”.

… for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. - Hebrews 11:10

The idea of anticipating the future reminds me of the first 5K I ran. My friend Jenifer and I were very excited. The weather was perfect, the adrenaline was pumping and all was going very well. Around the first mile we finally had an even pace and we felt good. All of a sudden a boy around the age of 15 realized his shoelace were loose, so instead of running to the side of the road, he squats down right in front of me to tie his laces. I had to do some split second thinking and hurdled this youngster! Then at about the second mile I realized that buying new running shoes three days before the race was probably not the best choice I had ever made. They were starting to rub blisters on the bottoms of my feet. But we ran on. Having a third of the last mile left I was beginning to get really tired. About this time Jenifer started to really pick up her pace. I, not wanting to be dusted, picked up to keep up! I say, “Goodness Jen, you really saved your energy for this last bit didn’t you?” To which she replied, “No. Actually, I am getting pretty tired. But I know that finish line is just around this next corner.”

This little 5K race packed big lessons for me. Jen kept the end goal in mind. She let it encourage her, motivate her, and helped her to finish strong. Isn’t life just like a marathon? Everything is great and things are going just as we had planned; then suddenly we have to navigate over unexpected hurdles. Sometimes we make choices that cause “blisters” in life, things that may cause a little (or a lot!) of pain, and we have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Sometimes we just get tired, and we want to quit. But this is when we must remember our future! Run with the future in mind!

We can run the race knowing that because of Christ we have an assured future.
We have a place to call home!

Christmas Future – An eternal home where we will live the
face-to-face reality of:
Emmanuel. God with us.
Tomorrow: Christmas Present!