Thanksgiving is a gateway holiday for me. It marks the beginning of a season of hope, wonder, joy, celebrating with family, rich foods, sweet moments, and new memories. I love November and December with their changing weather, slower paces, and the sense of anticipation that seems to grow with each day that passes until December 25th.
It is not the presents under the tree that get my attention, it is the Presence of the King who would die on a tree, which pulls my focus. Throughout the millennia of the Bible, from the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit until the Angels announced the birth to the shepherds, mankind has waited for deliverance.
In verse after verse of the Old Testament, from the mouths and quills of the prophets, people heard of the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the World. We were told He would be born of a virgin, that He would be the sacrificial lamb for the entire world, that He would come from Bethlehem in the nation of Judah (Micah 5:2). We were told that He would be despised and rejected, that He would take our stripes (our beatings, our sufferings) and He would bear it on our behalf (Isaiah 53:5).
So many different ways we were told to prepare and be ready for His arrival. Until then, priests and holy men were put in place to uphold the practice of devotion to God. The giving of offerings, the payment for sins, the traditions, the disciplines, the rituals were followed. God gave wisdom and insight to the prophets. Through them, we were told Jesus would be the High Priest, the King of Righteousness, and that He was the King of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, Hebrews 7:1, 2).
And when the day arrived, when the Savior of the World was born, people decided He was not what they had expected. He was not kingly enough, handsome enough, powerful or rich enough. So they went back to the traditions, the rituals, the disciplines. They returned to the religion of rituals and turned away from the opportunity to interact and experience being face to face with the Son of God.
They and we, chose to ignore Jesus [who] has also become the guarantee of a better covenant. Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7: 22, 24, 25). Again and again, we chose to stick to the rituals and not the real life, interaction with the God of the Universe.
Yet, Jesus calls to us. In the whispers in the songs on the radio, the wind blowing though the fields, the sound of a baby’s cooing; He calls to us. Come, come home, come to Me and find healing. Find rest. Find hope. Find grace. Find mercy. Find forgiveness. Find Me.
Every year, every November and December, Jesus whispers to our hearts, to let all of the rituals and the empty religious traditions fall away. Instead of the busyness, we can embrace the beauty and blessing of turning to Jesus and answering, Yes. Yes, I will I follow You. Yes, I will honor You. It is our decision.
We may think it is too late and…yet Jesus continues to call our names. Seeking us, looking for us, wanting to bring us home. To restore us, to draw us into His family, if only we would allow it.
Best Beloved, what about you? Are you going to keep dusting off the old traditions each year? Are you going to embrace the calling of Jesus? Are you going to enter into the better covenant He offers?
What will you chose?