■ Susan Beckett / Contributed
My husband and I once attended an outdoor wedding in a large amphitheater. It was built on the side of a hill and seated hundreds of people. As the time for the wedding approached, everyone involved in the ceremony began to take their places. Then an amazing thing happened: a little girl, dressed like Cinderella herself, appeared at the back of the amphitheater. As she slowly began to work her way towards the front, she rang a bell and loudly declared: “The bride is coming! The bride is coming!”
The crowd stood to its feet as we all felt the excitement of the moment begin to build. It was a wonderful way for a bride to make an entrance. And make an entrance she did; much to the delight of the crowd and her husband to be!
The Christmas season is a lot like that wedding. The announcement of its coming starts early — it’s like everyone is shouting, “Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!” By August and September, the stores and catalogs are pushing the holiday already. The “made for TV” movies are running Christmas specials and people are out shopping for gifts and decorations.
Some think this is a bad thing — but is it? Considering whose birthday we are celebrating (Jesus) I think the long introduction to the holiday is totally appropriate and warranted. It may frustrate many to see this holiday so commercialized, but I personally believe Jesus himself would absolutely love it.
Think about this: Christmas lights shining through the dark nights from our homes; joyful songs filling the stores along with all the amazing decorations; beautiful cards coming in the mail and carolers often showing up to sing at your home or in the malls; colorful decorations inside our homes along with fun and food-filled Christmas parties in abundance. During this time, people seem happier and more giving than at any other time of the year. I love it.
Those souls who think we begin celebrating way too early may be forgetting all the hundreds of Bible prophecies and foreshadowings that predicted the coming of Jesus. Isaiah 7:4 is one of those prophecies written over 700 years before His birth. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel [God with us].”
One of my favorite scriptures reads, Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” And so He is!
Scholars tell us there are over 400 prophecies and foreshadowings predicting the coming of Jesus in the Bible. God wanted us to know for a certainty, “Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!”
God sent an amazing multitude of angels to make the final announcement that Jesus is here. The angels exploded out of the dark night sky, singing their own breathtaking rendition of The Hallelujah Chorus with poor, frightened shepherds wondering if this could really be. Oh yes He was finally here, the long awaited Messiah, and they were invited to the party! Imagine – dirty, dusty shepherds were witnesses to the birth of the King of Kings. Who would have thought?
So, with thousands and thousands of years of preparation behind us, let’s enjoy this remarkable season of lights and let the celebrations begin!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet. For more information, you can visit them at DPCityChurch.com