Christmas in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1983 was quite different for our family of three. I had always been accustomed to cold weather and snow in Michigan. In Johannesburg, it was the middle of the summer. What could we do special with our toddler? We ventured out one evening to nearby Joubert Park to see the annual Christmas displays. We were surprised that the displays had nothing to do with Christmas. Each display depicted a fairy tale story. What did the Three Blind Mice and Little Jack Horner have to do with Christmas? Where was Jesus in the manger? Where was the Christmas music? Finally, in a quiet corner, we found the manger scene lost in the midst of the fairy tales.
Today, those displays remind me of how easy it is to forget Jesus in the midst of all the activity, lights, music and shopping of the season. We may give Jesus a little corner of our lives as the baby in Bethlehem, but are we willing to allow Him to rule in our hearts and lives?
Seven hundred years before Christ’s birth, the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the birth of Jesus Christ. He not only spoke of His birth, but revealed the character of the coming Deliverer of Israel. These words are quite well-known; yet do we know the meaning of this description of Jesus?
“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, Counsellor, The mighty God,The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
This description of Christ creates a spirit of prayer, worship and praise unto Jesus. Yes, He came to earth as a baby, but He is unique. He is God in the flesh. Do we take the opportunity to pray, honor and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Will you join me in the following prayers based on the greatness of the baby in the manger.
“And His Name Shall be Called:
- Wonderful-“Dear Lord Jesus, As I read the Bible, I often treat it as textbook from which to learn truth. I can lose the wonder of being in your presence. I can lose the wonder of all that you have done in my life. Please restore the wonder of your birth, life, death and resurrection in my life. With wonder comes true worship. You are worthy. Amen”
- Counsellor-“Lord, you are always there to guide me. When I don’t know what to do, you show me the way. When I need to pour out my heart to someone, you are always ready to listen. Thank you for being my counselor always and in every situation. You are truly the All-Wise God! Amen”
- The mighty God-“Dear Lord, I often find myself trying to live the Christian life without you. I try to deal with life’s difficulties on my own. I forget that you are all-powerful and that nothing is too hard for you. Help me to lean upon your all-powerful arms. Help me to trust you in every situation and to remember that nothing is impossible with you. Thank you for your patience towards me. Thank you that you are the mighty fortress to whom I may always flee. Amen”
- The Everlasting Father-“Dear Lord, because you are the Father of Eternity, you are always with me. You love, protect and provide for me. Thank you for giving me eternal life. Help me to love you even in a small way as you love me. Help me to learn at your feet and be quick to obey you. Thank you that I can call out to you as My Heavenly Father, and you always answer! Amen”
- The Prince of Peace-“Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for me, so that I may have peace with you! I also thank you that when I cast my cares upon you, I may also experience your peace every day. Please work in the hearts of the many people who don’t know you as THE PRINCE OF PEACE. Amen.
This time of year is a great opportunity to renew our wonder in the attributes and works of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Let’s not view Jesus as the babe in the manger, but as the Savior of the world and the Lord of our lives. Let’s do more than keep in Christ in Christmas. Let’s keep Christ in the center of our lives.