Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 31, 2014

Looking Forward from Christmas

Looking Forward from Christmas

 

The presents are now all unwrapped, but the lights still shine brightly on the tree. Much of the food is now gone, but part of a red velvet cake still remains. Some family members have left to return to work and daily routines, while others of us try our best to hold on to what’s left of Christmas – not quite ready to clean up, pack up, and put away for another year.

 

As I thought about another Christmas winding down, my eyes fell on what remains of the red velvet cake. So many of my Christmas memories revolve around a simple red velvet cake. I remember as a child when I first saw a red velvet cake, I was totally mesmerized. Cakes were supposed to be white or yellow or chocolate. I thought that those red cake layers were absolutely beautiful! I never tried to make one until after I was married and one of the first Christmas cakes I made was a red velvet cake. Thus began a long tradition of holiday red velvet cakes.

 

Just about every year at Christmas time I made a red velvet cake for my husband’s family’s Christmas dinner. It became a favorite cake of my son – or actually, I think he preferred licking the red-batter bowl to eating the cake. When my husband’s family no longer met for Christmas dinner, I continued baking a red velvet cake for our Christmas gathering with my sister and her family. The recipe has been changed and tweaked through the years and some years it turned out better than others, but it grew to be a given on my Christmas baking list.

 

That’s Christmas! There is so much looking back, recalling, and remembering. By my age, it seems that every dish I prepare, every ornament on the tree, and every decoration on a table or shelf has a special memory, a sweet story to tell. But even more than looking back at all these Christmas memories, I love taking time in all the rush and hurry of the Christmas season to think about that very first Christmas. I love hearing about Mary and Joseph; the angels and the shepherds; and Baby Jesus, the Son of God, lying in the manger. These are stories that I never tire of hearing and reflecting on a love that is beyond my ability to fully comprehend.

 

But as much as I love looking back, recalling, and remembering at Christmas time, I think Christmas demands that we look forward. Luke tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (see Luke 2:19). I’m sure that Mary treasured every detail of her Son’s birth. She probably hung onto every word that the shepherds relayed about the angels and their glorious announcement. She “marveled” over the comments of Simeon and Anna (see Luke 2:25-38). She surely treasured every memory, but she pondered them as well.

 

I’m sure that Mary wondered what everything she heard meant. What would Jesus’ life look like? What would her life as His mother look like? How should the mother of the Son of God “mother” the Son of God?  Did she understand the sword that Simeon prophesied that would pierce her own soul? I wonder how Mary moved forward from Christmas?

She probably moved forward much like you and me. As we look forward to a new year, we know that it’s not really new. We don’t leave our problems, our worries, our questions or doubts in the old year. We pack them up and bring them along with us. Nothing really changes except for the date on the calendar and perhaps a new resolve that we’re going to get it right this year. But while we all move forward – since there really isn’t another option – we may not all look forward from Christmas. And that is what makes all the difference!

 

When we look forward from Christmas, we pretty much do the three following things.

 

  • We remember Jesus and what He came to do. He is our Savior and our Immanuel. He came to save us and to walk with us through everything we face.

 

  • We rejoice that because of Jesus, we can truly live. He has a plan for your life and mine and He gives us meaning and purpose. We are part of His story.

 

  • We rest in God’s promises. Jesus’ birth, life, and resurrection assure me that I can trust in all that God has promised. Therefore, I can look forward with both peace and hope in my heart.

 

Remember, rejoice, and rest – these three things will help us look forward from Christmas, knowing that because of Jesus we are never alone, our lives have meaning and purpose, and we have a hope that can never be extinguished – all because of Jesus!

 

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

 (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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