Greetings in the name of The Lord.

Yes…it is December and Advent is again upon us. Which means Christmas is not far behind. It is exciting for some, but for some it is another time to reflect on grief and loss and pain. But in this busy culture, we will all either take part in, or observe, as people decorate; make Holiday party plans at work and home, prepare the menu, make room for company, and yes…make Christmas lists for Santa so that we are not disappointed with what we find under the tree on Christmas morning.

Without trying to seem overly unimaginative or trite; I thought that we might briefly consider…. What would Jesus want for Christmas if we asked Him? What would be central on His list? Would His list look like ours? And does He even have to ask for ANYTHING since He owns all things? Well, we catch a glimpse of His (Christmas) desires in the seventeenth chapter of John’s gospel. The climax of His yearning is found in verse 24: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world”. Although we are ALL undeserving sinners, there are those whom The Father has 54 These are those whom The Father has drawn to the Son (John 6:44, 65). These are Christians—people who have “trusted” Jesus as the crucified and risen Savior. Jesus says he wants them to be with him…. He is speaking of His Church. He is speaking of US!!!!

Have you ever heard the silly notion that God created man because he was lonely? They say, “God created us so that we could be with him.” Does Jesus agree with this? Well…. He does say that he really wants us to be with him! But the question is WHY? Is it because He needs playmates? Someone to play Hot Wheels with on Christmas morning because He is getting bored playing by Himself? Why does Jesus want us to be with him? … “to see my glory that you [The Father] have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” That would be a strange way of expressing loneliness. If the sole purpose for our existence was to meet some need found in God to cure His loneliness; that would be an expression of selfishness found in God. But our purpose according to Scripture is that He longs to share His glory with us…. KA-CHOW!!!!! Merry Christmas to US!!!!!!

“I want them with me, so they can see my glory.” In fact, it doesn’t express his loneliness. It expresses his concern for the satisfaction of our longing, not his personal loneliness. The Father is not lonely, and Jesus is not lonely. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are profoundly satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity. We, not Jesus, are starving for something. And what Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to experience what we were really made for—seeing and experiencing his glory. Oh, that God would make this sink in to our souls! Jesus made us to see his glory. Just before he goes to the cross he pleads his deepest desires with the Father: “Father, I desire that they … may be with me where I am, to see my glory.” But that is only half of what Jesus wants in these final, climactic verses of his prayer. That we would know The Father’s love just as Jesus knows The Father’s love…. that we not only see his glory but savor it, relish it, delight in it, treasure it, love it? What Jesus wants most for Christmas is that (we) his people be gathered in and experience the longing of our hearts—to see and experience His glory! Our hearts remain a vacuum searching for anything and everything in THIS world to fill it until we discover that we were made for HIM! Oh that we would wrap our hearts around that this Christmas. Consider the words of St. Augustine as he reminds us; “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

What I want most for Christmas this year is for Franklin Park Baptist Church to experience Christ in all His fullness and that we begin having a burden to share it with others. We want to see Jesus, whose first “advent” or “coming” we celebrate, and whose second advent we anticipate and LONG For. This is what Jesus prays for us this Christmas: “Father, show them my glory and give them the very delight in me that you have in me.” Oh, may we at Franklin Park Baptist Church see Christ with the eyes of The Father and see ourselves in His High Priestly prayer. This is THE Good News of Great Joy and THE essence of heaven. This is the gift that cost Jesus His human life to bring us to eternal life…. and is what we should ALL long to sing, celebrate and shout about this Christmas!

Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas,
Pastor George
Greetings in the name of The Lord.

Download December 2017 Park Bench

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