21 Days Until Christmas!
Song: “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” By Nat King Cole
Christmas Album:“Elvis’ Christmas Album” by Elvis Presley
Christmas DVD: “Arthur Christmas”
Netflix Movie: “A Christmas Kiss”
Amazon Prime Movie: “Christmas Angel”
Feeln Movie: “Off Season”
• College Football Playoff Selection Show, noon, ESPN
• “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” 5:35 p.m., FreeForm
• “Christmas With the Kranks,” 6 p.m., FX
• “Christmas Cookies,” 6 p.m., Hallmark
• “Elf,” 6:40 p.m., FreeForm
• “A Prince for Christmas,” 7 p.m., ION
• “The Santa Clause 2,” 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., FX
• “Looks Like Christmas,” 8 p.m., Hallmark
• “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” 8:45 p.m., FreeForm
• “A Cinderella Christmas,” 9 p.m., ION
• “Anne of Green Gables,” 9 p.m., PBS
• “A Heavenly Christmas,” 10 p.m., Hallmark
• “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” 10:55 p.m., FreeForm
• “A Christmas Wedding Date,” 11 p.m., ION
Recipe: Christmas Bread Wreath
Quick Thought for Christmas
“And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Just as God wants to prepare us to celebrate this Christmas, He was also preparing the hearts of His people for the coming of his Son more than 2,000 years ago.
The scripture above is from the account of Zechariah, who was the father of John the Baptist. Before the birth of Christ, John’s birth was also something of a miracle. Both Elizabeth and Zechariah were considered much too old to have a child, but here was Elizabeth, most definitely pregnant. Of course, Zechariah found it hard to believe that he was going to be a Dad, even when an angel came to announce it to him.
But as a sign that the pregnancy was real, and that the child was going to be very special, God made Zechariah unable to speak until after John was born. And before the angel left, he let the father-to-be know just how vital his son was in preparing people for the Messiah: “…he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah…”
The Jews of the day might not have been as devout as they should have been, but they still greatly revered Elijah. And now an angel was saying that Zechariah’s son was going to be born to elderly parents, and would minister like Elijah did. That must have seemed impossible!
Of course, John was born just as predicted, and Zechariah finally got a chance to speak again. When he did, he had some very important words to share in the form of a prophecy about John and his cousin, Jesus. You can read that here.
Even better than John’s birth was his ministry. He did, indeed, prepare the way for Jesus to minister in Israel. And the earliest of Jesus’ followers were men who had first heard about God’s plan from John. Their hearts had been prepared for the message of Christ by the strong words of John the Baptist.
In just a few weeks, we will celebrate the coming of Jesus once again on Christmas Day. In this pre-Christmas season of Advent, it’s so important to prepare our hearts for that day. It’s so much more than a time to celebrate Santa or gifts or great food. It’s a time to remember that Jesus came to make a way for us to spend eternity with Him and with God the Father. If you haven’t started already, spend a few minutes today in prayer that the Lord will keep you less focused on the noise and clamor of the season, and more focused on Jesus, the real reason we celebrate.
Reflection copyright © 2016 by Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.