This was a portion of the passage our pastor preached on Sunday. He asked me earlier in the week if I would lead our congregation in communion and mentioned he would be preaching about the Magi journeying to Jesus.
As I reflected on what today, it struck me that I would be calling people to focus on the the significance of Christ’s death right after our pastor pointed us towards his birth. The more I thought about it, the more I found encouragement that Jesus couldn’t truly be interceding for us at the right hand of the Father right now if he did not truly ascend to Heaven, and he could not have truly ascended to Heaven had he not truly been raised from the dead, and he could not truly have been raised from the dead if he had not truly died, and he could not have truly died if not he had truly been born. And none of these things would have eternal implications if Jesus was not truly Divine.
In considering Christ’s birth and death, I found different people had different reactions to Jesus. The political/ religious leaders seemed fearful/ jealous of him and wanted to snuff him out. Others like the innkeeper or the unrepentant thief on the cross seemed indifferent to him. Yet, like our pastor pointed out Sunday, there were others who to knew in their heart what they could not see with their eyes. The shepherds and the wise men saw more than baby in a manger, they were stirred with faith to see the Messiah. The repentant thief saw more than a beaten and bloodied man hanging on a cross, he was stirred with faith to see the Savior.
One of the things I most appreciate in the manger scene is how very different people come together to worship Jesus. Shepherds and Magi. Men from different economic and ethnic backgrounds. But no matter the background, status, or state in life, when the heart is full of faith and you focus on Christ, adoration inevitably occurs. Again, one of the reasons I love communion is because I can look to my right and left and see, whatever the differences, that is my brother and that is my sister. And when we are taking the bread and wine and remembering our Savior, gratefulness overflows from our hearts. We can never be good enough to deserve to come to the communion table, but by grace we have been filled with faith that the person and work of Jesus Christ has made us worthy by reconciling us to God.
At the manger, the Shepherds were not thinking of their sheep, nor were the Magi concerned with their affairs in the East. They were enraptured in glorifying Emmanuel. Likewise, communion is refreshing because it is compels us to take a brief recess in focusing almost solely on ourselves.
Don’t let your mind be caught up by the million distractions this time of year. Instead, look to Jesus and let your heart worship.
Like the old song says:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth, will go strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace”