Tuesday Reflection – December 24, 2019
It’s Christmas Eve and today many Moravian Churches all over the world will gather for Christmas Eve love feast and candle light service. Others will gather on Christmas Day to adore and welcome the ‘new born king’. Let me use this opportunity then to wish for everyone a Merry Christmas with the prayer that Christ may be born anew in our hearts. Merry Christmas from our home and family to you and yours.
Psalm 24 is a Psalm of David. In this Psalm the king makes reference to a greater king than himself, the King of glory. In verse 7, our watchword for today, we see a prophetic call for the city of Jerusalem to welcome the king of glory, Jesus Christ the Messiah. Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! That the King of glory may come in. David’s call is for Israel and Judah to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah on that first Advent which we celebrate just before Christmas. The people were to be prepared or they would miss the coming of their Lord. The call of David is for the Jerusalem to welcome their Lord. Jerusalem represented the people of God. It was the central place of the Jewish kingdom. The lifting up of the heads was synonymous to a call to be attentive, to be alert so that they would be part of that great event. In like manner, the lifting up of the ancient doors symbolized the city being opened to receive their King of glory, Jesus. Palm Sunday was the closest they came to this but even then there was great opposition to Jesus. The sad reality is that many did not heed the call of David and so were unprepared for Jesus’ coming. In John 1: 11 the apostle describes it thus, He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. Look at the events of Jesus’ birth. Joseph and Mary could find no place for Him to be born and eventually ended up in an animal shed. Herod, when he heard the news, plotted to kill Jesus. Jesus began life on earth as a refugee in Egypt, fleeing religious and political persecution. His life was not easier. His own people in the city in which he grew up tried to kill him. He was often challenged by the religious authorities of the day. Some for whom he had performed miracles did not even say thanks and after three and a half years of dynamic world changing ministry, the Jewish religious and Roman political authorities put him to death through crucifixion. David had called the people to be ready but they refused to listen and for many in Israel the coming of the messiah represented missed opportunities.
As we observe Advent and celebrate the Christmas season, we need to once again hear the echo of David’s words, Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors! That the King of glory may come in. Advent is a reminder to us that ‘the Lord strong and mighty’, ‘the King of glory’, will return and we need to be ready to receive Him. Jesus himself revealed to John in Rev 22: 12, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” It behooves us therefore dear friends to be expectant, to lift up our heads, and to be prepared, to open up the doors of our hearts so that the King of Glory may reign supreme as the King of our lives. Expectant preparation means we take nothing for granted. Rather we live in expectation so that we will be prepared to meet our savior. Do not let it be an occasion of missed opportunity for you as well.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us be anchored to the reason for the season, Jesus our Lord. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews encourages us in chapter 10: 24 – 25 let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Dear friends, this is preparation time and we cannot afford to relax for our Lord’s return is near. Let us expectantly prepare to meet our Lord.