Every now and then, God shows me something from Scripture in such a way that I hear loud and clear His message to me. Such was today, Christmas day. I am 40 years old, the youngest of 3 girls. And today was the first time I’ve fully hosted Christmas for my parents. I’ve been working on a low key menu for a few weeks, and things came together relatively well. My boys are ages 4 and 6, and this year it seemed of growing importance to start instilling in them the true meaning of Christmas. We’ve been talking about the Christmas story, reading it from many different books, acting it out in church Christmas programs, and talking it out using a playmobil manger scene. All that to say, I’ve had a bit on my mind in preparation for today. After reading the Christmas story last night, this morning was a flurry of Christmas activity. At some point, I managed to steal a few brief moments away to read my Bible.
I have been working my way through the book of Luke since last summer. I keep getting distracted away from it, but I also keep coming back. And today, God timed it so that my reading spoke a clear message to me particularly on this day we celebrate Christ’s birth.
The topic? Christ’s death.
Yes, today my reading in Luke just “happened” to fall on the crucifixion. I hadn’t really noticed in the days before this that I was at that point in Luke. But it was stark this morning. While my boys read last night of one Herod’s pursuit of the infant Christ, today I read of another Herod’s interaction with Him. Judas betrays Jesus. Herod and Pilate become friends as they try to figure out what to do with Him. Jesus stands silent in the presence of the accusations against Him. He’s beaten and sent to the cross where He interacts with a thief who recognizes who He is. Peter denies Him while a centurion recognizes Him. He dies.
And then comes the most amazing thing in all of Scripture. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two.” The thick heavy curtain that separated the outer portion of the temple from the Holy of Holies, which was the symbolic presence of God, was torn in two. No more priests interceding in our place. No more blood sacrifices to atone for our sins. Instead, we have ACCESS. Bold, confident access.
So today as I unwrapped gifts and cooked turkey and ham, I was humbled to think that what I’m really celebrating is the start of the countdown to the moment that veil in the temple was torn, to the moment that Christ paved the way for me to boldly and confidently access my Father. And maybe the purest form of celebration I can offer on Christmas day and the days to come is simply to avail myself of the access He has given me through His life and death.
The veil is torn. Wherever you are this Christmas season, whatever you perceive stands between you and Him, come boldly and confidently to Him now in prayer. Avail yourself of the end result of Christ’s birth, life, and death for you.