Every morning over the past month as I would pull out of my driveway I’d see Him – little baby Jesus standing on my front lawn. No, it wasn’t a vision and no, I wasn’t sipping too much spiked eggnog. It was my inflatable Christmas decoration. Although I have put this decoration out every year for the past 5 years, I noticed something different about it this year. During the daylight hours, when the multicolored fabric decoration laid deflated across my front yard, there was one part of it that remained standing. It was the little baby Jesus.
Every day, I would find Mary crumpled forward along with the donkey and lamb. Joseph would fall backwards accompanied by the angel that hovered over the star above the stable. But there, right in front, would stand the little baby Jesus as if He was ready to walk right out of His hay-lined manger.
Seeing this every day reminded me of the verse in Isaiah that reads, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) When I was in seminary I chose that verse for my first sermon that was presented to my classmates. I remember bringing in a vase full of dead flowers and setting it on the podium. (One of the police officers that I worked with had just been killed in the line of duty and this was one of many flower arrangements that our department had received during that time of grief and loss.)
Although I don’t remember every point of that sermon from 20 years ago I do remember the main point – the Word of our God stands forever. Life is fragile. Our circumstances can change in an instant. Our world around us can be tumultuous, chaotic, contentious, divided or deflated. BUT, the Word of our God stands firm. It is not fragile. It stands in spite of our circumstances. It stands in a world that barely acknowledges its existence. It stands forever.
As believers, we not only believe in the imperishable, enduring, steadfast pages of holy scripture, we know God’s Word personally. His name is Jesus! John tells us in his gospel that Jesus was “the Word made flesh.” (John 1:14) Isn’t it just like our God to take His only precious Son, His very Word that spoke creation into existence, and place Him into our tumultuous, chaotic and contentious world in the form of a fragile baby boy. His life was in danger from the moment He entered our world and yet He stood firm until it was time for His mission to be fulfilled. Then and only then, was His life offered up as a sacrifice for our sin so that we might have forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. And after His life was given, it was resurrected to once again show the resilience, endurance, and immutable strength of God’s Word. Death itself could not bring God’s Word to an end.
I doubt that the designers of my inflatable nativity decoration had any of that in mind when they drew up the plans for it. But what they created reflects a Biblical truth… His Word, Jesus, the Word made flesh, stands forever.
As we begin this new decade, many Christian leaders around the world are declaring 2020, “The Year of the Bible.” There are movements that are encouraging people to read the Bible daily and discuss it (YOTB). There is a movement for the Word of God to be read out loud across the world (Bible 2020, Public Reading of Scripture). There are apps, reading plans, small groups, and peer-to-peer discipleship opportunities that are encouraging believers everywhere to take on this new decade with the Word of God on their lips and in their hearts (The Bible Recap, Streetlights, Move Closer, Together in Scripture, and others). There is no better time in history for such movements.
Each day our world seems more and more divided, tumultuous, tenuous, and contentious. There is a lack of trust, a lack of truth, and as a result, a lack of peace. As believers, we cannot get caught up in the deflated spirit of the world around us. We, as followers of the Word, need to be grounded in it, focused on it, and able to share it. We have the only thing that stands and will remain standing in a world that is deflating. It’s His Word. It’s Jesus! The world is going to tire of the chaos it is in. Eventually people will see that the “saviors” they have propped up in their minds and in their hearts are going to fall. They are going to fail. We have the Truth, and we have been given His very Spirit living within us so that we can present that Truth, Jesus, to the world. We need to be ready. We need to be united and focused on the one thing we all, as believers, have in common – the Word.
So, are you deflated or are you still standing? Are you in God’s Word every day? Are you getting to know Him better through His enduring Word? Are you shutting out the chaos and noise to tune in to the One who will stand forever? It’s never too late to start. The Spirit is preparing the Bride for the return of the Bridegroom. Get ready. He’s coming soon.
Father God, thank you for the strength and endurance of your Word. Thank you that you sent your Word into this world to pay the penalty for our sin and to defeat death so that we may have a restored relationship with you. Thank you Lord, for the movement your Spirit has begun in your church across the globe. Father, may we as believers be students of your Word, ever learning, ever growing in our knowledge of you. We know the world around us is deflating. Many are seeking truth, hope and salvation in all the wrong places. Lord, make us ready to be used by your Spirit to draw more to the only Truth that will forever remain standing. Give us hearts that will yield to your Spirit as we prepare for your Son’s return. It is in His name, I pray, amen.