The eye-popping sights and fabulous smells! Most everyone is looking for the right combination that will create the perfect atmosphere.
As Christians, we should realize that an atmosphere of love cannot be created with natural things. Only God, the Source of love, can produce love.
Let’s look to the first Christmas for some simple do’s and don’ts that will always produce a heavenly atmosphere.
First is Zacharias. The angel Gabriel appeared to him to announce that he would have his long-desired son, who would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. It was great news, but Zacharias looked to his natural, hopeless circumstances and argued, “My wife and I are both too old!”
It doesn’t take much to fill the air with despair, even in the presence of an angel bringing good news. Gabriel immediately shut off the source of such despair by shutting Zacharias’ mouth. Look at what Luke 1:18-20 says:
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
No matter what our circumstances, we can keep them in line with heaven by not giving voice to despair. Thankfully Zacharias makes a great comeback later! (See verses 67-79.)
When Zacharias’ wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant she was full of gratitude. “‘How kind the Lord is!'” she exclaimed (Luke 1:25, New Living Translation-96). That began a stream of praise that didn’t end until Jesus was presented in the Temple!
She was overcome by God’s kindness. Kindness should always be a Christmas earmark; there are certainly lots of opportunities to show some. Kindness really brings the Christmas spirit on the scene because it brings Him on the scene.
When Impossible Becomes Possible
Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary, also had an encounter with Gabriel. He announced that she had found great favor with the Lord and would give birth to the Son of the Most High. Look at what transpired in Luke 1:28-33, NLT-96:
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Again, circumstances screamed “impossible!” But Mary responded in faith, saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38, NLT-96). She was such a woman of faith, determined to trust the Lord. What joy that produced in her soul!
Later, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice the unborn baby, John, leaped in his mother’s womb. She began to prophesy and Mary erupted in praise. You can feel her deep passion and joy as she describes the goodness of God and the depth of His great mercy and faithfulness (see Luke 1:39-55).
Real joy doesn’t come from natural things, but from faith in Jesus. In other words, yelling at the kids because they are being difficult, while you are busy “trying to make a Christmas memory,” may wind up creating a memory you’d like to forget.
Take notice of the good things the Lord has done and tell others, especially family, what you see. It makes great conversation while you are trimming the tree or baking cookies…and it takes the edge off when you see the mess your little blessing has created.
So what have we learned from these saints of old?
We’ve discovered we can shut down the atmospheric effects of negative circumstances simply by shutting our mouths! If you want an atmosphere of peace, talk only about the provision of God. Whether you need money, time or ability, praise Him because He promised to supply all your need, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
We’ve seen that faith brings praise, praise brings joy and everyone knows that Christmas is all about joy! Release your faith in joyful praise! Faith, hope and love are the right ingredients for the perfect Christmas atmosphere! VICTORY