It’s so easy to lose focus during this busy time of the year! There are many places to be and people to see that before you know it, Christmas can come and go without ever being able to focus on the “reason for the season.”
I was reminded of this the other Saturday as our family got up super early, for a Saturday, to head downtown Nashville for the Christmas parade. Our oldest daughter was in the parade with some of her school friends and her chorus teacher at Union Elementary.
We were supposed to arrive at 5th and Broadway by 6:50 a.m. We made it downtown, and it didn’t take long to realize that there were barricades everywhere with police officers in front of them. It was obvious that many of the streets close to the parade route were already closed, even by 6:50 a.m.
We came to one of the streets that “Siri” said we were to turn right on, and we asked the officers if we could turn so that we could get our daughter to her chorus group. He was polite, but he informed us that we couldn’t.
We’d have to find another route. I was already starting “to lose focus” with all of the “barricades” I was seeing. Yet, it didn’t take too long to find a street where I dropped my wife and daughter off so that they could walk to 5th and Broadway.
My other two kiddos and I drove around for a few minutes until we could find a place to park, and once we found a place we navigated our way on foot to meet up with my wife and some other friends that also were there to see their children in the parade.
Keep in mind that the drop off was super early, and the parade didn’t kick off until 8:30 a.m. Moreover, that particular Saturday morning the sun decided to hide, and the wind chill was a little colder than we anticipated. Hence, the wait for the parade to start became a little more distracting.
Eventually, the parade kicked off, and it was fun to see the different marching bands, floats and singers, but I was ready to see our sea of colored t-shirts (orange, yellow and blue), which consisted of children from across Sumner County and some other surrounding counties.
Finally, someone said, “I think I see the different colored t-shirts coming in the distance!” Sure enough, there at the center of 5th and Broadway, the group sang and performed their dance moves in front of the TV cameras, and we spotted our daughter and hollered her name out as she walked by us! The “barricades”, the cold chilly morning, and the long wait suddenly seemed powerless to overcome the thrill that we had anticipated.
What are your “barricades” that you are dealing with this Christmas season? What are you allowing to rob you of the joy of the season? It could be a broken relationship with a loved one, the death of a loved one, or any number of “life stressors” that seemingly are trying to steal your joy.
Yet, when we accept the “Gospel News” that the Angel declared to the shepherds in the field so many years ago, we realize that the “barricades” in our lives are no obstacle to the one that came to defeat our biggest barriers.
Listen to the Angel’s declaration from Luke’s Gospel chapter 2, “10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (emphases mine).
Our biggest “barricade” in life is our sin and brokenness that separates us from our holy, loving, Creator God. If we choose to remain in our sins, we will suffer an eternal separation from God in a literal place called hell. This babe in the “manger”, however, came to save us from our sins!
What child is this? He eventually traded the wood of the manger for the wood of an old rugged cross, and on that cross He died a death as an atoning sacrifice for your sins and mine. Even still, on that early Easter Sunday morning, He was raised from that cold, dark and dreary tomb to ultimately defeat our greatest “barricade”, death—an eternal separation from Him.
Jesus, the babe in the manger, came to save us from our sins, and He offers everyone that will listen to Him the greatest gift we could ever receive, forgiveness of our sins and eternal life through Him!
When we focus in on the Christ child that was born - that was born to save us from our sins, everything that might be squeezing out the joy in our lives this Christmas becomes powerless compared to our Lord and Savior that is coming back again for His people, the Church!
So, cue the choir, and let’s sing along with them: “Hark! The herald-angels sing ‘Glory to the newborn king; Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.”
Merry Christmas from your friends - the body of Christ at First Baptist Gallatin on Main Street - Pastor Travis Fleming.