Bethlehem Days and Bethlehem Nights – Worthy of the Wait, A Christmas Dream

A dream, that’s what. A Christmas dream. It’s what this Christmas we await is truly all about. Joseph had his. Mary hers. God, too. Imagine that. God’s own Christmas dream. What would that be like? Oh, I’d be interested. The Good Lord, as well. What are you dreamin’ for this year? [Congregation replies.] Fess up, now. Isn’t there something under the tree you’ll be lookin’ for? Or when the family gathers, that garners your hope? Or maybe there’s some horizon you want to stretch high enough to see plainly, if only from a distance. A new job, a new relationship (or an old one reconciled and restored), a clean bill of health, a loved one or friend brought home, maybe from a war zone. I only want to invite you today to dream a Christmas dream that is worthy of the wait! You just might want to consider…

God’s Christmas dream is about letting heaven down to earth. It’s the old song, “Love came down and glory shown around.” It’s about light in the dark. Saving grace in the shadows. Isaiah knew that, long before anybody gossiped over what Mary or Joseph heard from Gabriel. You might protest, “Over neat!” to say it this way. But I will anyway, just to draw the point most sharply. Whereas Easter is all about lifting us up to heaven, Christmas is all about letting down heaven on earth. Easter moves us to pray the sinner’s prayer. Loving God, I know I need to live according to your ways. I need your forgiveness. I believe Jesus died in my place, redeeming the penalty for my sin. I am willing to turn away from sin and toward you. So now I invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart/life as my Savior.  I am willing, by your help, to follow and obey Christ as the Lord of my life.” But the natural prayer that Christmas prays is the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….” Imagine: every wrong made right so even the rocks will sing God’s praise. Every heart intent on tending to the glory of God. Every knee bowed. Every heart confessing Jesus Christ is Lord. Human-kind, “Ain’t gonna study war no more!”  Peace in the family. “Wives atune to husbands, fathers loving wives as Christ loved the church.” (Can you see how that’d change the cyber’s space). “Parents, don’t make your children hate you.” “Honor your mother and father.” God’s Christmas dream for the earth: TELL ‘EM, “SOMEbody’s comin’! ‘And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and the awe of the Lord. … He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, decide for the meek of the earth. …He shall slay the wicked.

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard with the kid, the calf with the lion. And a little child shall lead them. …And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The littlest child shall play over the hole of the asp, and his brother put his hand on the adder's den and not be bitten. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”   Isa. 11: 1-9

Mary had a dream. Well, even better I should say. ‘A visit from the highest high angel of God! But you know about that. We tell of it every year. Joseph’s dreams, not so much. Joseph had dreams like we often do. Tossing and turning dreams. “Now what?” dreams. “What if,” dreams. “O Lord, not that, please not that,” dreams. “What on earth do I do now?”dreams. “Lord, I just can’t,” dreams. “How can this be?” dreams. You’ve had such dreams. Yes? I know I have. But Joseph has one more.  “Joseph, don’t be afraid! Take Mary. This is Holy Spirit stuff! A son, Jesus; he will save, he will save. This infant, as old as the prophets’ word: Emmanu-el: God with us! (Heaven come down!!!)” I LOVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Joseph woke from sleep! Not just a night of it. A life of it. In a land of it. In a time of it. In a world of it. Joseph’s Christmas dream is still a wake up call! For us, our life/land/time/world! God has set heaven at the ready to come down. ‘Couldn’t be more. ‘Won’t be less. Now is the hour for US to wake up, this… Christmas!

Surely this is a dream worthy of the wait. Are you willing to make it your dream? Mary and Joseph, they heard God’s dream…and then did God’s dream! What about you/me/us? We’re only a few days away now. Your personal wait will come and go. Will your dream be worthy of a Christmas that stays?! O, may it be so. Hold on, just a little longer! James (Jesus’ brother) is right. Be patient. Get your heart right! After all, the coming of the Lord is at hand.

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