During the holiday season, people usually start thinking about firsts. With the current year coming to a close and the new one right around the corner, thousands of enthusiasts around the world create resolutions they hope to fulfill.
While making a list of things you hope to accomplish is a great idea, the amount of people who actually stick with and complete those goals is fairly thin. This often causes disappointment, leading to lack of motivation.
I myself am a very driven person. Because of this, I am always making and trying to reach new goals. However, when I’m so caught up in what I want to happen, I sometimes momentarily forget what He has already done.
This is why it is important to look at lasts.
God holds both the past and the future, the beginning and the end, in His hands. While I don’t believe that we should constantly be dwelling on our mistakes, I do believe that there is a lot to learn and opportunity for growth from examining our past selves.
The most read version of the Christmas story is found in the second chapter of Luke. Inside, there are many firsts, but I want to focus specifically on three of them and show you some takeaways that I got from each.
1. The First Time Jesus Entered the Earth
Luke 2:6 (ESV), “And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.”
On that holy night so long ago, Jesus first physically came into the world. That day changed history and even as a baby, the earth was forever altered by His mere presence.
He came to right wrongs, to help us in our faith, and ultimately, to die for our sins. No one will ever be able to change the world like He did, and it’s amazing to read the account of when He first came.
But what about the last time that you saw Him at work in your life?
I think that everyone gets caught up in their wants. We want Him to fulfill our prayers, we want to be happier, we want to be in a better situation. However, we often lose sight of the fact that He has answered prayers, made us joyful in the chaos, and brought us through hard times in the past.
Thinking back to all the ways that He has blessed and held us, even recently, is so comforting. He is faithful and is constantly working in our lives; we often just get side-tracked by our personal desires.
2. The First Time There Wasn’t Room for Jesus
Luke 2:7 (ESV), “And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
Knowing that the Savior, the Messiah, was born in a stable is incredibly humbling. This was the first time that the earth physically pushed Jesus away, giving Mary and Joseph a less than desirable place to have their child.
Yes, we often look at that innkeeper as a bad guy, but when was the last time we told Jesus there wasn’t room for Him?
In a lot of ways, our lives are like that inn: We have plenty of “rooms” in our days, but we fill them up with worldly things. Then, when Jesus asks us for just one of them, we say that we’re sorry, but we’re all full and point to the stable in the back.
We miss out on so many experiences by doing this. When we were talking to friends, we could have been talking to Him. When we were watching movies, we could have been reading our Bible.
Thinking of ourselves as an inn can help to evaluate where our priorities truly are. Are our hearts prepared to let Jesus in, or are they so full of worldly pleasures that we shut the door in His face?
3. The First Time People Proclaimed Jesus’ Birth
Luke 2:17-18 (ESV), “And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”
It is such a wonderful reaction that as soon as the shepherds had seen Jesus, they immediately felt that they needed to tell everyone. The long-awaited Messiah had come, and people needed to know.
We can imagine them running through the streets, shouting out to everyone who passes by, and it makes sense. They had just seen their Lord in the flesh! Everyone who saw Jesus would have wanted to share the news.
But then why is it so hard for us to tell people? When was the last time you told someone of the coming King?
We know that He is alive, we know what He has done for us, and yet, we remain silent. It’s so hard to be vocal about our faith to strangers, but I think it’s time that we have courage like those shepherds did. They didn’t care what people thought of them, they just cared that the Savior was born.
As We Step into the New Year…
The Christmas story is a wonderful picture of firsts, but it can also serve as a reminder to think of our own lasts. God is always working, always bringing beauty from the ashes, and He holds the past and the future in His hands.
Let’s go into the New Year remembering all that Jesus has done in the past, preparing ample room for Him in our lives, and eagerly looking for every opportunity to tell others of the coming King!