Rebirth for the New Year with Christ, the newborn
Advent 2012 presented an interesting idea to ponder. What should I expect to be like after Christ is born to us at Christmas?
Let that one sit with you for a moment as you read these words from Luke 3 as John the Baptizer tells us of what life will be like with the one whom is coming, Jesus:
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
and the rough places made smooth.
All humanity will see God’s salvation.”
“Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire.” (Luke 3: 4-6, 8-9 Common English Bible)
The season of Advent provides us a time of preparation for Christmas. We often get caught up in the festive preparation of Christmas forgetting that we need to prepare ourselves spiritually for the newborn King.
Why spiritual preparations? We need to be ready for the one born at Christmas to come wreck our lives, plant us in holy soil and change our lives for the better.
John’s declaration in Luke is good news for us at Christmas and as we begin this New Year. The road was made ready, the newborn King has arrived, and now we are to bear fruit for we are made new in Christ.
Sounds simple enough; however, if you continue reading Luke 3, John the Baptizer is questioned on how this can be done. These people need how-to. Well, we might need some help too. How can I bear new fruit in 2013 having received Christ again at Christmas?
• Love like you never have. Find someone who has been unlovable — a co-worker, classmate, neighbor, stranger — and embrace them as Christ embraced you.
• Be generous. Even in lean economic times we still have more than most of the world. Give more time, talent and treasure, trusting in God for all you need.
• Forgive. There are age-old family feuds, land battles, love triangles, blissful disputes that keep us separated. Let us follow the example of the Christ child and offer forgiveness as he forgave us.
• Adore. We are designed to worship God. Worship him daily and you will produce fruit aplenty.
What should I expect to be like after Christ is born to us at Christmas?
I should expect to be different. I should expect pain as I change from the old life to the new. I should expect to sacrifice as I give up what I have for what God wants me to have. I should expect those close to me to not understand my new birth in Christ. I should expect a journey with Jesus from manger to the Cross with the simple promise that those who follow him will bear fruit with changed hearts and changed lives.