Over last weekend, I began prepping for a few Christmas crafts I've been wanting to focus on before the holiday rush hits.
This has become one of those pre-Christmas, intentional, non-Jesus-dropping go-to's over the years.
(A few years ago, I put together a few random thoughts for an Advent Devotional, titled "I Dropped Baby Jesus." That link for a .pdf through dropbox is here. Feel free to duplicate and download.)
I like finding a key theme for the season that helps me keep Jesus in the season...
So, as I set out supplies on Saturday, I was humming a few little Christmas carols to myself (I simply CAN NOT bring myself to turn on Christmas music, or decorate, until Thanksgiving is over...gotta keep my mind fully engaged in one thing at a time).
A favorite, Joy to the World, popped into the next-to-hum-line-up:
I love this line.
Our Lord has come...
And with Him came the opportunity for salvation for all men...
The right to be called children of God for all who receive Him...
The door to heaven flung wide open on Christmas Day, when Jesus came as a babe, lived flawlessly, died selflessly, and bridged the great divide for me to be His own...
Joy to the World offers an invitation in the next sentence:
"Let earth receive her King..."
Oh, that we would!
In this soon-to-be-upon us celebration, oh, that the world's eyes would be opened to the truth that there is but One King...
...and He purchased the right to be on the throne of our hearts.
But, there isn't room for Him, or me, or.....?, to be on that throne.
There's only room for one.
May it be Him!
That one line got me thinking way, way, way back.
Fifty years ago this coming Tuesday, November 24th, 1970.
That night, somewhere around 9:00 PM, earth stood still and the angels held their breath, as one, young, bold high school girl shared with her very "lost" friend (me) the gospel story.
That night it all made sense.
The story was personal to me.
Jesus became personal to me.
And that night (I can't believe it was 50 years ago!!!), I did exactly what the writer of Joy to the World invited us to do (one earth-person-at-a-time).... I received Christ as my King!
What did that look like?
To receive: Greek word, lambano...
**to take to oneself in order to be carried away
**to welcome another, giving that one access to oneself
**to claim, procure, or associate with oneself as a companion
**used of that which, when taken, is NOT LET GO
Next to each one of those potential definitions, I can place a ✔!
I became His and He became mine that night...and, I have never once, not ever, thought of letting go...
Not only is He my King, He's my most intimate friend.
That night, fifty years ago, the angels erupted the quiet of the moment with shouts, trumpets, and a huge party was held in heaven....
I had come into the Kingdom for such a time as was coming ahead...
So, how does this tie in with my study of Habakkuk?
Once again, I found myself focusing on the blessed night of my salvation as I read God's answer to Habakkuk in Chapter 2.
God begins to answer Habakkuk, who is still standing on his watchtower, waiting for the Lord's response (remember, he's at attention, watching, ready to receive whatever the Lord says...).
God has a lot to say to Habakkuk...but verse 4 holds what could be six of the most important words in all of Scripture (it was so important it took 3 New Testament Books to explain it...Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews):
Fifty years ago, I was made righteous (just) as I stepped by faith into the grace of Jesus' arms through faith.
I could do nothing to earn my way...
Jesus had done all the work for me!
Now, how do I live out that life?
What is my role for as long as my feet are planted on this earth?
In these last days (if they are the last days and even if they aren't), how do I walk out my life as a follower of Jesus?
I simply live the same way I came into the heavenly Kingdom of my new King...
By grace alone...
Through faith alone...
In Christ alone...
And don't forget...
As He once came...
He IS COMING AGAIN.
Make sure you have truly received Christ (in the full sense of "lambano") by grace alone, through faith alone, in Him alone...