advent lettering

O Come All Ye Faithful

Before It All Began

Today's Reading

John 1:1-18

Two days to go, and we all have our lists. If we have the time, we check them twice, but most of us are just scrambling to get everything crossed off and done. In so many ways, Christmas becomes a season of anything but peace.

That is why it is so important to take time during the Christmas season to stop, breathe, and pray. If we don’t, we won’t, and we will miss the meaning of Christmas amidst the twinkling lights.

As we spend the last two days preparing, let’s take a moment to reflect on the wonder of this season through John’s incredible prologue to his gospel.

“In the beginning was the Word.” Stop there and breathe that in.

Before all of creation…before any matter was formed, before any energy was expended, the Word—Jesus Christ—was.

Stop. Read it again. Let it sink in.

“And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

How amazing is that? Did you stop and really think about it? As I am writing this, tears are welling up in my eyes contemplating this simple fact—Jesus is God, and He came before all things.

So let me bring my bag of concerns, worries, and troubles to the table, dump them out, and look through them. Let’s see, we’ve got finances, house repairs, family gatherings, gifts, work stress, church issues, studies, broken promises, missed opportunities, hurt feelings, parenting challenges, time with my spouse…and that is just the stack labeled "mine."

Let’s look over at this list, complete with societal sins and global chaos—war, famine, poverty, hatred, discord, terrorism, abuse—the list can go on and on and on.

Looking at these stacks is quite frankly overwhelming because nothing I can do will ever handle it all.

But that is when I think that before all of those stacks were formed and all of my lists were made, Jesus was….I can not help but cry with the Psalmist, “Why are you in despair, my soul? Hope in God!” (Psalm 43:5)

So before we move on to anything else, let’s just breathe in this simple fact: Jesus is before all things, over all things, and above all things.

Do we believe that? Do we believe in his authority over our situation?

Again, stop and contemplate that. Have you realized that the Jesus we have been celebrating and encountering for the past three weeks—the Jesus of Mary, Matthew, Paul, and Martin—is the eternal Jesus who is Lord over all things?

So, let’s take some time today…maybe a good five or ten minutes…to just sit in silence and reflect on this wonderful truth.

Imagine your stack of worries, frustrations, and concerns on your kitchen table. Close your eyes and imagine them. Don’t be afraid to be overwhelmed.

Got that feeling? Do you see them?

Now, in this silence, picture Jesus sitting at the table also, looking over the stack.

Do you see His face? Do you see His eyes? Can you see any level of worry in them? Does He look frustrated or concerned?

He doesn’t, does he? You know why? Because He is the Word who has come before all of these things, and He is the Word who will be around long after all of these things.

When you see His face, did you notice something about your feelings? Did it change? Did that unusual peace come?

You see, when we look into the face of the Living One, when we gaze into His eyes and see His power, His strength, His glory, we know that everything will be ok.

That is why we are called to adore Him. It isn’t because He needs the attention. It is because we need the peace.

Stop, breathe, and pray. Live in His peace.

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