Monday, December 16, 2013

Ready Or Not....Here It Comes!

Santa Claus who resembled Uncle Nathan came
to visit last year at Christmas
      Timing is everything isn't it?  It seems like only yesterday we were preparing for our church play and musical and today, it was here in what seemed like an express delivery!  God blessed our efforts, and we all rejoiced in what He did both in our performance and in the reality of His salvation.  We didn't feel like we were completely prepared, but then, are we ever really ready for a big event?
     With Christmas Day around the corner, I am asked nearly every day if I am ready for it.  I smile and reply that I am more "not" than "ready" for the celebration.  It is not unlike the preparations for childbirth.  We try to get everything together to welcome the new addition, but there is no way to be fully prepared for the changes a baby brings to the family.  In much the same way, we are not prepared to lose a loved one either.  When my father was ill, I knew there was no hope of recovery.  Even though we tried to be settled in our hearts, when the phone rang with the news that he was gone, our hearts grieved.
     Life comes at us whether we are ready or not.  There will always be circumstances that we could never anticipate and situations that we are not prepared for.  However, when we have Christ in our life, He is all we need.  One of the names given to Jesus is Immanuel which means "God with us."  What a precious thought to know that our Creator came down from heaven to walk among us, to teach us, comfort us, heal us, and most importantly, deliver us from our sins.  Amazing!  Yet, the shepherds weren't ready but surprised to hear that their Messiah was born.  Even Mary was surprised when she first heard the news from the angel that she would be the Mother of Jesus.  Then, there was no room for her and Joseph at the Inn in Bethlehem.  Humanly, we might question why God hadn't made provision for them...ah but God's timing is perfect.  Galatians 4:4 says:  "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law...."  Then in Romans 5:6, we read:  "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly."  Isn't it wonderful?  From start to finish, God's timing is perfect.  He doesn't wait on us to get ready.  He interjects Himself into history and into our lives at "just the right time".
     Lets be honest.  We are the ones who think we have to have everything perfect in order for Christmas to come.  All the cookies have to be baked, the presents wrapped, the cards sent, the house cleaned.  Then, Christmas can come.  But God doesn't operate on our timetable.  His perfect, immutable character works in us ready or not according to His will and for His glory.  How glad I am that God is with us.  My salvation doesn't depend on my works or my readiness.  From start to finish, it is according to the work of God at just the right time in our lives.
      If you think, as I often do, that we have to have everything just so before we can enjoy Christmas, we will miss some great blessings through worry and anxiety.  Likewise, if we think we have to be perfect before we can grow in the Lord, again, we will miss the fullness of His salvation.  We must recognize that God is Sovereign.  He is to be trusted.  Therefore, let us ready our hearts to receive Him in a fresh new way this holiday.  If we are ready in the Spirit, this is all we need to have a blessed time of celebration.  Lord help us to remember that Your timing is perfect and our times are in Your hands this Christmas!  Selah!

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