A short Christmas message from London Baptist, written by Lee Johnson.

I guess most of us enjoy a Christmas movie. The number one choice for many years in the Johnson household has been ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’. It has become such a Christmas tradition, and family event, that we have watched it religiously for many years on Christmas Eve, have attended sing-along versions at the cinema, and this year our youngest daughter went to a live orchestral version. This love of ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ is all the more strange because we are not Muppet fans, and have never watched any other Muppet related films or TV shows.

At one point in the movie Kermit the Frog who ‘plays’ Bob Cratchit says to his children “Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it.” That quote feels pertinent for both Dawn and myself at the moment, as we look to depart London and meet a new part of the UK in Didcot.

For me the message of Advent is one of meeting and parting. The idea that Jesus parted from the glory, majesty, and splendour of Heaven so that He could come and meet with humankind is the central message.

The word Advent is derived from a Latin word meaning arrival. This Advent, as we celebrate again the arrival of Jesus as a baby, born in humble circumstances, my hope is that we will prepare our hearts to meet Him.  Meeting the ruler who will arise in Bethlehem to shepherd God’s people. Meeting the child born to us upon whose shoulders the government will rest. Meeting the Prince of Peace in whose kingdom the lion lays down with the lamb.

I love the imagery we find in Isaiah 11, the idea that the powerful wolf, leopard or lion will one day, in the Kingdom of God, lie down alongside the vulnerable lamb, goat or calf. In Jesus Christ Isaiah’s dream becomes a reality, we see this throughout the Gospels when an encounter with Jesus transforms a lion into someone willing to lie down with lambs.

For each of us this Christmas time, my prayer is that we will meet Jesus, and from that meeting we will depart from those practices that are harmful to ourselves and others. Let us choose, with the help Jesus, to stop our harmful predatory actions and lie down in peace with the lambs. Bringing in that peaceable kingdom that John in Revelation leads us to.

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