Thursday, December 8, 2011

My WHOLE identity?

I'm having a hard time getting any Christmas celebration going at my house. Yesterday's brief shower of big, white snowflakes helped motivate me, but so far any sign of Christmas is limited to red plastic tubs in our dining room. A new neighbor moved in several weeks ago, and I have yet to go meet them, letting things like darkness, rain, and schedules keep me from them. I'll admit a little guilt is starting to creep in ... 

My preparations to celebrate Jesus' birth may not be evident in decor, but there's something going on inside ... not "inside" the house, but inside me. As I reflect on those who made room for Jesus, I'm so challenged. Honestly, today's character leaves me feeling like, "I'm so glad I wasn't him."  And then I feel ashamed for realizing I just had that thought. Everything about who he was made room for Jesus.

John the Baptist born
His life was "because of the tender mercy of our God" (Lk. 1:78). Though his birth was a miraculous gift to Zechariah and Elizabeth, it was never about their son. He grew strong in spirit and then, as soon as he was grown, spent his life in the wilderness where bugs and honey were on his menu. His slightly younger relative, Jesus, however, grew strong and was filled with wisdom, having the favor of God on Him to ultimately reign over all things. The first came as the flashing neon sign pointing to the next. 

Preparing the way
His whole identity was wrapped up in preparing for Jesus. The father of John the Baptist said he "shall be called the prophet of the Most High" (Lk. 1:76) as foretold by Isaiah. As the last of the Old Testament-style prophets (coming after a silence of more than 450 yrs since Malachi), he demonstrated that God was speaking to his own again. John the Baptist declared true salvation, instead of the Old Law (Lk. 3:8). The repentance he declared brought a true forgiveness of sins = freedom.

Satan used Herodias
To be "called" for such a purpose is a privilege, and to die for such a purpose is a privilege too. Most of us cringe at the thought. We don't usually talk about the deatsh in the Christmas story, but Jesus' kin met an ugly death. All of his proclaiming got him put on the "naughty list" by King Herod and his wrongful wife Herodias. When John spoke the truth about their sinful union, Herodias took the opportunity at the King's birthday part to ask for John's head as a reward for their dancing daughter, eliminating the threat John posed to their rule. It was an act of hatred, and even "the king was sorry." (Read the story here) (Images are from

The followers of John took his body to be buried, and Herodias gloated over the head that had prepared the way for the Messiah. When Jesus heard the news, he went away to a "desolate place by himself."

To prepare room for Jesus, John let God shape his entire identity. He let God write his whole story, start to finish, with a wilderness in between.

John stayed his course, though it cost his life to proclaim Jesus. And I'm having trouble going to welcome my new neighbor.....

There IS room for Jesus in what we make such a busy season, but I have to be willing to let Jesus shape my identity and write the story of each day. 

I hate to do this, but ask me if I went to see my neighbor. I obviously need some accountability. :/ The tubs in the dining room can wait a little longer...

How are you doing with preparing Him room?

1 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

LisaP44 said...

"John stayed his course, though it cost his life to proclaim Jesus. And I'm having trouble going to welcome my new neighbor....."  Ouch!  I want to be willing to let shape my identity - that is what I want.

Thanks, Julie ~ many blessings!

A Moment with God