I got an early Christmas present yesterday. We started a new Sunday School class, led by our capable and witty pastor, based on a Beth Moore video series called “Jesus: The One and Only.” As someone who had excellent Sunday School teachers as a kid and who spent much our her life in the church, I was feeling pretty good about my knowledge and understanding of Jesus, especially His birth. Well, my little world was rocked yesterday when I learned that from the time the Old Testament ended to the opening chapters of Luke, God was silent. For 400 years, God did not speak to His people. You see, the people weren’t listening; they ignored the prophets that God sent, and they even “stopped up their ears,” according to a verse in Zechariah. God was angry, so He quit speaking. His silence caused a desperate hunger for a word from Him to develop in His people. When God did speak again, it was through an angel to tell Zechariah that he would have a son. And Zechariah was afraid. And he lost his ability to speak. And–this is my favorite part–God spoke by giving us Jesus. The realization that 400 years of divine silence was ended with God sending His only son to earth totally stunned and humbled me. The Christmas season feels differently now. It’s more than the same baby in the same manager: It’s God’s people desperately hungering for Him and God responding by making the ultimate sacrifice.
So, I was brimming with the Christmas spirit when Jeff and I bundled up to head to the tree farm in search of the perfect Lorow Family Christmas Tree. It was drizzling and cold. We made quick work of identifying the tallest, fullest douglas fir in the field and cutting it down. And it is stunning! This tree is no less than eight feet tall. It looks splendid in our home, if I do say so myself. Much to my glee, it also smells strongly of pine, something last year’s Lorow Family Christmas Tree was disappointingly lacking.
I hope the Christmas spirit soon catches you by total surprise and doesn’t let go!