“The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him?’” Matt. 8:27
The account of Jesus’ calming the storm while he and the disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee is not a story you would expect to include in devotionals about Christmas, but in fact, it goes to the heart of what the Advent season is all about—who is this Jesus born in a manger?
The essence of Christmas is not filling ourselves with ‘experiences’ we generate through shopping, gifts, family, carols, well wishes, frivolity or traditions. Rather, it is taking time to stop and reflect on the truth about who Jesus is—God in the flesh—and why He came. This is a critical matter about which we can easily lose track during a season we have recklessly stripped of reflection in favor of materialistic distraction. We fill our lives with that which will, ironically, leave us empty, while ignoring that which will ultimately fill the deepest longings of our heart. There is a great separation between those who truly grasp what Christmas is and those who only wish to celebrate a “holiday” experience.
The account of the virgin birth in Luke 1 makes it clear that Jesus was born fully human, yet something more. Born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit through the power of the Most High, Mary’s boy was both fully human and fully God. In was in the storm on the Sea of Galilee that they suddenly understood that this man, Jesus, was a uniquely different kind of man.
How Will You Answer?
Had they not already experienced and observed his genuine humanity, they might not have been struck by the demonstration of his power and authority over nature itself. Now, however, they could not ignore the reality that this man was not like any other man, and so they found themselves confronted with the question, “what kind of man is this?” And that is the question for which our Christmas celebrations must always demand an answer. How will you answer it, and how will you lead your family to even ask the question this Christmas season and pause to reflect on its significance?
Help your children and grandchildren reflect on the wonder of Jesus’ full humanity (born of a virgin), and his full deity (conceived by the power of the Most High God). Our understanding of who this Jesus is in the manger has everything to do with the rest of the story culminating with Easter. So, tell the story of Luke 2 beginning in Luke 1:26-38.
It took a storm and the “storm-stiller” to get the disciples’ attention. Perhaps now is the time to draw our family’s attention to the “storm-stiller” again, and let Him turn our chaos into reflection and worship.
A Time to Reflect
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. I encourage you to use tools like the Advent Wreath to reflect on the story of the greatest gift ever given to mankind. If you are a long distant grandparent, why not schedule a Skype or Facetime meeting with your adult children and grandchildren once a week during the Advent season to light the Advent candles together and talk about what each means. Check your local Christian bookstore or Google Advent devotional resources online for ideas.
GRANDPAUSE: “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us].” Isaiah 7:14