Saturday, December 12, 2009

THE CHRISTENING -- Devotional for December 12, from "Good Seeds"

Then Ezra the priest brought out the Book of the Law of Moses before the assembly, and standing at a wooden podium made for that purpose, read from the Book from early morning till midday. When Ezra opened the book, all the people stood, giving God’s Word their respectful attention. (Nehemiah 8:1-5)

The Jews had been in exile, but now were returning to rebuild and re-align themselves with their God. It had been their disobedience that had removed them from His blessing and protection in the first place, making them vulnerable to the attack of enemy nations. God permitted this exile from their homeland in order to teach them what happens when God’s people neglect God’s Word. And so, when the ancient scrolls were found, dusted off and read out loud at a public meeting, the people were overcome with a strange mixture of joy and guilt. It was a turning point for those “wandering Jews,” as they re-discovered what they had lost, and were now on the road to spiritual recovery. Here’s another true story of neglect and its dire consequences: Many years ago, a wealthy European family planned a christening of their newborn baby. Many guests were invited for the occasion, and came in the very latest fashionable dress. Their coats were carried upstairs and laid upon the beds. After the usual lot of commotion and conversation, the time came for the christening ceremony. But where was the baby? No one seemed to know. The nurse was sent upstairs to look, but she returned in alarmed distress, for the baby was nowhere to be found. After several minutes of desperate searching someone remembered seeing the child lying on one of the beds. A frantic search produced the lifeless baby, found among – and smothered under – the wraps of the guests! The chief reason they had come had been forgotten, neglected, and now destroyed! This Christmas many will forget, neglect and even destroy Christ. Every year He is smothered by the giftwrap, ribbon and make-believe that fill the festive month of December. There is no end of celebration, but people seem to have forgotten the “reason for the season” – that the very word Christmas means, “celebrate Christ.” What happened that first Christmas, where there was “no room in the inn” (Luke 2:7), happens every Christmas, as people have no room on their calendars – or in their hearts – for the Christ of Christmas. Others will smother even the mention of His name, and feign to forgot why we gather to eat, have parties, and exchange gifts. Those early Jews came back to the written Word of God. When will we return to the Living Word of God, rescue Him from the wrappings and trappings of Christmas, and give Him back His Day, as we give Him back His rightful ownership of our lives?

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