Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wreaths and Crowns, Lost and Found

Merry Christmas Eve!

I sincerely hope that you are in the midst of enjoying wonderful Christmas worship services and enjoying time with family and friends.  Yesterday evening, Hubs and I attended a "rockin' " Christmas concert and today we celebrated Christmas with the Hood side of our family circle. Tonight, we attended our church's Christmas Eve service with our precious sons and then had dinner at the home of dear friends.  Tomorrow, we have plans to celebrate with the Dalton circle.  All of this reminds me of the incredible goodness of my Savior.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 KJV

The other day I was thinking about wreaths, Christmas wreaths to be exact, and pondering why we hang wreaths on our doors at Christmastime.  I don't know the "official" reason, but there is special meaning for me in the circular shape of a Christmas wreath.

Circles are marvelous things.  They have no beginning and no end.  Circles remind me of the eternality of our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, who came to Earth as our Savior on that very first Christmas.

Angels are often pictured with circular halos.  I wonder if the circular shape is any accident?
Crowns are circular and an integral part of Christmas although they are not a traditional Christmas symbol.  They are for me, at least, and here's why.

Our Savior "laid aside His crown so that we could be found".  Those words are from a Christmas song our church choir sang last year.  They also remind me of the old Southern hymn, "What Wondrous Love is This".

Christmas is so unsatisfying if celebrated as an isolated event and/or if celebrated as "the beginning". God had no beginning, nor will He have any end.  Christmas Eve, the night He was born as a human, was simply one of the events in His eternal plan, a marvelous plan conceived before He invented Time.  So yes, we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, even as we reflect on "the rest of the story".

That spiritual, eternal crown was laid aside in eternity past.  A crown of thorns was placed on His head as He headed toward the conclusion of earthly ministry.  And, after He returned to Heaven He picked His crown up again.  He'll be wearing it when He returns to Earth to reign as the One Isaiah calls the Prince of Peace.

"So that we could be found"... Are you lost? Have you felt lost today?  (I have.)

In Christian-ese those are two very different questions.  The first really means, "have you decided to give yourself to Christ, to become a Christian, to follow Him, to take Him as your Savior by accepting His finished work on your behalf"?  If not, in the Christian parlance, you are "lost".  But, even those who have been "found", saved by His marvelous grace, can "feel lost" when the various crises of life overwhelm them.  That's the way I felt late this afternoon.  And, how I felt is a mere flicker compared to the conflagration a friend felt today when he lost his wife, or when another friend called tonight to ask for intercessory prayer.

Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace

Jesus didn't just come to Earth as a baby to be our "fire insurance", our "one hit wonder".  For sure, apart from Him we cannot know God.  But, no, He came also to be our Magnificent Everything ... now, in the middle of our messes, Christmas or otherwise. Thank God!  One of my beloved asked me the other day (incredulously):  "Do you really think God cares about the minor troubles of one middle-aged woman?!"  "Yes", I replied.  "Yes, He does."  Because He loved and loves me.  He loved me enough to lay it all down then, and He loves me still, and forever.

1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?
2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.
3 To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM -
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
while millions join the theme, I will sing.
4 And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
and through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and through eternity I’ll sing on.

Through eternity, I'll sing on.

Praise the Lord!  And, MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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