That being said, I had a time with my family this morning worth sharing, for sure...let me share.
Back on November 23, we put our manger out (which is what we do in lieu of a tree). Here's what I posted on Facebook with this picture:
As we decorate a bit, our decorations are really a preparation for our family's Christ Mass. Several years ago, the girls and I built a manger and had Connie Stone paint on it Revelation 22:20 -- He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! -- we use it as a discussion piece to prepare our hearts for the second coming of our Lord Jesus, The Christ. Today we set it up and talk about how woefully unprepared Israel was for The Messiah & how we want to be prepared for His return. Between now and the morning of December 25, each of us are to find and wrap symbols of our constant expectation of His return and place them in our manger. That morning, we'll unwrap them and discuss our expectation of His coming again. May our lamps be filled, wicks trimmed and hearts ready...
Today, we unwrapped our symbols and each person shared. The depth of thought my 9 year old, 12 year old and my darling wife shared was such a sweet blessing for me. Each person was spot on, and each person shared what we needed to be reminded of and in shared it in the gentle love of the Spirit.
Rachel drew a picture of a knee and a tongue and quoted Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:9-11 ESV). She explained how when she thought of the Second Coming, she thought of that...that EVERYONE will bow and EVERYONE will confess He is Lord and "nobody will not understand who Jesus is that day!"
Katie made a scroll, and decorated it with various pictures, such as the apostles staring as Jesus ascended and the Morning Star, Lord Jesus, who believers desire to see return. She read some pretty powerful verses to us, to remind us of His Second Coming:
- and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 ESV)
- Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31 ESV)
- For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
- (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ESV)
My darling wife shared an ornament with us; a beautiful, sparkling angel blowing a trumpet. She talked about how God would send His angels when Jesus returned and Jesus would use those angels to collect the elect from all over the face of the planet. What an exciting reminder!
Can you picture it, dear friends? Can you see those angels -- those same angels that frighten men and women every time we see them appear in the Scriptures -- gathering the elect from over the face of the earth? Wow! Just, wow.
Then, I revealed my symbol: a lamp. Matthew 25:1-13 is powerful. I mean, powerful...
We need this before us all the time. We need to see this picture of unpreparedness and preparedness. It needs to shake us. We need to be ready and excited for the coming Bridegroom.
Lord, thank You for today...the sweetest times are these...