Acts 28:23-31 (NRSV)
After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings
in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them,
testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both
from the law of Moses and from the prophets. Some were convinced by what he had
said, while others refused to believe. So they disagreed with each other; and as
they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: "The Holy Spirit was right
in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
'Go to this people
You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will
indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,and they have shut their eyes;
that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn -—
and I would heal them.'
Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent
the Gentiles; they will listen."
He lived there two whole years at his
own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and
teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without
This season is about getting slowing down, getting still, and listening for the cries of a newborn baby and the shouts of a king descending in glory!
When we get too busy with the distractions of a commercial Christmas season, we can be accused of listening, but not understanding, looking but not perceiving. We get caught up in all of the judgment and condemnation of woulda, coulda, shouldas. We spend more money than we have and rack up debt we will pay the next 365 paying off. We worry, fuss, and cuss fighting in the malls with our neighbors, seeking material things that will pass away.
But, when the true spirit of CHRISTmas comes upon us, we remember that JESUS is the reason for the season, we keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas, we take the time to welcome all as Christ and to share the good news of His kingdom, and we bask in the love, joy, hope, and peace of LOVE come down from heaven.
We are loving, gentle, sweet, patient, and forgiving to ourselves and everyone around us. We embody the Spirit of CHRISTmas in our words, thoughts, and deeds and extend grace and mercy to all those with need of it!
Dear ones, our salvation is at hand, and is now come! Let us welcome Him with CHRISTmas joy! We can turn CHRISTmas upside down. We can do things differently. Let us begin today...
Dear Lord, please help me to listen and understand, see and perceive. Help me to slow down and show you my great love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.