Prophecy 3

John 1:1-2

A few years back we gave our two sons some skateboard ramps. They came in a very large box too big to wrap so we left it in the garage. On Christmas morning we sent our boys out into the garage to get the box. They were amazed by the gift and wondered when we had gotten it. We explained that it had been sitting in the garage for weeks; they just hadn’t noticed.

The Gospel of John begins with some explanation as to the relationship of Jesus to God. Who is “the Word?” Where was “the Word?”

When we celebrate Christmas we often get caught up in the hurry and stress of all that needs to be done. We worry about our money. We worry about buying the perfect gift. We stress over cleaning our house to be ready for guests.

With all that occupies our minds we can easily forget what it is we are really celebrating at Christmas. We are celebrating the fact that God loves us so much that He was willing to send His Son, a part of Himself, to live on earth in human form.

That was a tremendous and wonderful gift that we have received. It is the ultimate gift and the ultimate expression of love. Such a gift was not an afterthought. It was not a gift hastily purchased or prepared.

The gift of Jesus was a gift that was intended from the beginning of all things. John tells us that in the beginning, when everything was just starting and nothing existed but God, Jesus – the Word – was with God. Jesus was God; he was part of the Almighty.

As we move into the Advent season and prepare ourselves to celebrate the precious gift of Christ, we need to remember that this gift has been waiting for us since before time began. The gift has been given. The gift is there ready for us to receive it. Have we noticed it yet?

DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you remember the gift of Jesus this year?

Prophecy 2

Isaiah 9:6-7

So often at Christmas some of our preparation is to buy a pack of batteries. We get them because we know that some of the gifts we will be giving will require those batteries. We get the batteries because we know what the gift is even though the one receiving it has not opened it yet.

The prophet Isaiah had a message from God about what was coming in the future. What was coming? What is said about this child who is given?

This passage does more than just give hope about what might some day happen. The prophet describes what will happen using words that imply it has already happened.

“To us a child is born, to us a son is given.” These seem to be more than words that predict the future. They come across as statements of fact. The child is born. The son is given.

These words were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem and yet they were exactly true. God had imparted His plan to the prophet and the prophet knew in his heart that God would carry through on this plan. The birth and life of Jesus was in the works from the beginning of time. God was already preparing to give a gift that would save us all.

And it was no small gift. Jesus would take on the authority over all the world. He would come to reign as our Savior and Lord from his birth, to today, and on into the future. He would be and is the Mighty God, Prince of Peace.

We know the celebration of Christmas is coming. We may know what we are giving as gifts. We may even know what we might be receiving as a gift. But what we must remember as we celebrate Christmas is that this precious gift of Christ was planned by God for millennia. He had decided to save us and give us everlasting life for thousands of years before we even existed.

As we celebrate the gift let us also celebrate the love behind the gift. It is a love from God that has been there for a long time and will remain there for even longer.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How will you remember the reason for the gift of Jesus this year?

Prophecy 1

Jeremiah 29:11

Along with all the plans we were making for our home and our jobs when we were first married, my wife and I talked about how many children we wanted to have. We even came up with names for our children. As soon as each was born we talked about what type of person each child might grow up to be, what we expected to happen with them, and what we hoped would happen.

Things haven’t changed much in our lives. We still look at our children and think about what the future might be like for them. We consider what paths they might take and where they might go.

The interesting thing to me is that God has done the same with each one of us. In this passage from Jeremiah God has a message of hope. What does God know? What type of plans does He have?

This passage is an excerpt from a letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent to leaders in exile. It was intended to make them aware that God had not forgotten them in their exile. God still had plans for them, and those plans were for good things, happiness, prosperity, and success.

As we enter into the Advent season, that time in the life of the church when we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, we must know that the birth of the baby in Bethlehem was not some random occurrence.

God had plans for all of humanity from the beginning of the world. Although we as humans are separated from God because of our inability to be perfect, God still desires that we be connected to Him. He wants us to be able to be in His presence.

For that to happen God had to give a gift to the world, to all of humanity. That gift was Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. And this gift was planned for centuries and centuries. God had plans for all of humanity to be saved from sinfulness, to prosper and have hope. And all of these plans were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas this year may we remember that the holiday celebrates God’s love and mercy, a gift that was planned from the beginning of time and meant for each of us.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be certain your holiday plans include celebrating God’s gift?