Meditations by John Dean

Monday, December 24, 2012

He Came To Our Place

(John 1:1-4 KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

There is something about the Christmas season that is so special. Perhaps it has to do with the idea of giving or spending more time with one’s family or the hope of peace on earth.

It depends on your upbringing as to what traditions or customs you will enjoy this special season of the year. In some parts of the country they may celebrate with yule logs and wassail. Their traditions could even be caroling or hanging stockings by the chimney.

Of course all of those things are just add-ons because what we call Christmas today has become little more than just a holiday with a lot of festive decorations and a thousand fat Santa Clauses running around.

Christmas is a time the church historically calls “advent.” The word “advent” means “to come.” When Jesus first came, He came to Bethlehem. When the church celebrates Christmas it is actually celebrating His first coming. This also means that they are looking forward to His second coming as well…and that is huge.

Christmas is not just a time that takes up space. It is much bigger than that…it is eternal. Once when someone was trying to explain eternity they said “that eternity is an infinite season of minutes. This may sound reasonable to the natural mind, but it is wrong. Eternity cannot be measured in time.

It was in Bethlehem where eternity overwhelmed time. It may be a little easier for us to understand eternity by saying things like “eternity goes on and on and on.” In our own hearts we believe that we will be going on and on as well …and that is true.

One day someone will probably say, “Well, Brother John died,” but what really happened will be that my body just fell off and I kept going. When that happens another body will wrap itself around me because the Bible says that we are going to get a new body.

The reason Jesus came to Bethlehem in the first place was to grow up among us and one day go to the cross and pay for our sins so that we can spend eternity with Him.

In other words the gospel in a nut shell is this. He left His place…to come to my place…to take my place…so I could go to His place.

I suppose I am getting old enough now that when I think about going to His place it has a little more appeal to me than when I was young. When I was a young man I said, “Jesus I know You are coming back, but could you just hold off a little while.”

One of the fondest memories I have as a young man was when I lived with a lady who was commonly known as Ma. She had very little of this world’s possessions, but she always seemed to be richer than she really was. After I was grown I would occasionally go back to see Ma and each time I did we would celebrate that day as if it was Christmas. She would make the most special meal for me even though I was not always hungry.

Ma may not have cooked a ham or turkey or any of the traditional things one would think of for a Christmas meal, but it was always special. After our meal, Ma would want to spend an endless amount of time talking about the Lord and His return to take us to His place.

Our greatest desire this Christmas should be that of reflecting on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
Thank you for sending our Lord Jesus, who left His place…to come to my place…to take my place…so I could go to His place.

Merry Christmas from the Dean family

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