Not a real angel, of course, but a VERY important angel nonetheless. The angel pictured at left was given to my husband by a special friend during his last years in pastoral ministry.
Izzy came into his office one December day, proudly toting a wrapped Christmas gift. She plopped it on his desk and waited with a bright smile while he opened it. There, in all its glory, was this very white, over-sized, electric, LED angel with a Dollar Store logo on the box. “I thought she’d look beautiful in your office!” Izzy said.
And because my hubby knew better than to argue with Izzy, the angel stayed in his office that Christmas.
A few years later, a job change moved us across the country, and the angel came along. Nostalgia seized me during our first Christmas separated from friends and family, so the LED angel took center stage. And the next year, and the year after that–the LED angel became dearer–a fond reminder of the past. We’ve enjoyed her billowy, wired wings for almost ten years now.
My father-in-law has fixed the switch, replaced the bulb and mechanism, and I’ve hot-glued almost every part of her. The old girl has been knocked over, stepped on, pressed down, and squished. But she remains a precious reminder of our friends back home.
This Christmas was different, however, a little bit challenging for us–and for the LED angel. It was the first year we weren’t able to be with our kids and grandkids. And, as I said at the beginning of the post, the LED angel died. No fixing her. Gone. Kaput. Done.
This Christmas was also different in the way I prepared my heart to celebrate the Birthday of my Savior. Some of you may remember the invitation to read the NIV Gospel of John on BookShout.com with me during the month of December. You might have thought it crazy to prepare for Christmas in the only Gospel that DOESN’T mention the birth of Christ, but–for me–the experience was AWESOME!
The Apostle John refers to himself throughout his Gospel as “the disciple Jesus loved.” In today’s terms, John was Jesus’ wingman, bro, home-dawg. If Jesus was Batman, John was Robin. Get the picture?
So when we read John’s Gospel, it’s like reading a best friend’s diary, the account of Jesus’ life from the person who knew the God-Man’s ministry best.
So what does John’s Gospel have to do with my LED angel and Finding Jesus After Christmas? Glad you asked…
Jesus’ Birth in John
The Gospel of John seems to begin thirty years after the Christmas story by defining Jesus as God and introducing John the Baptist’s ministry:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” John 1:1,6
In Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ birth through the lens of humanity–from Mary, Zechariah, and Elizabeth’s eyes. But John 1:1,6 is telling us the Christmas story from heaven’s vantage point, showing us how the Holy Trinity stepped into time as Immanuel–God with us–and chose a one-of-a-kind prophet to prepare the way. Staggering.
How Are Babies Born?
I also found Christmas in John 3, when Nicodemus visited Jesus at night. Jesus rocked Nic’s world with the whole “you must be born again” speech, remember? Consider Jesus’ words in the context of Mary’s virgin birth. Could Jesus also have been alluding to the moment the Spirit “overshadowed” Mary at conception? (Luke 1:35)
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.’” John 3:6
Flesh and Spirit worked in concert at Mary’s conception to bring the Son of God into this world as flesh and blood–fully God, fully Man. Flesh and Spirit also work in concert each time a sinner BELIEVES that Jesus Christ is Lord–our flesh remains the same, but our spirit is a new creation, reborn!
God gave His Son as a gift for all men to receive–Christmas ANYTIME to anyone! I love that!
Where else do we find Christmas in John’s Gospel? Hold onto your LED angel!
We know John 1-12 recounts Jesus’ earthly ministry. Chapters 13-17 describe the night before his death. And John 18-21 tell of His crucifixion, resurrection, and reunion with the disciples. Jesus begins telling us about God’s next Gift on the night before the Cross…
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
God gave His Spirit as a Gift–not to ALL men, but to believers only. So, it’s like another Christmas, but for believers!
“When the day of Pentecost came, [Jesus’ disciples] were all together in one place…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2:1,4
So, everyday I am empowered by the Gift from my Heavenly Father–the constant, abiding, presence of His Spirit that will see me through to eternity! Now, that’s Christmas EVERYDAY!
Goodbye LED Angel
So, do I miss the Christmas decorations and my sentimental LED angel? Yep. Sure do. I love the beautiful Christmas lights, the smell of our real Christmas tree, and the sound of the Salvation Army’s bell when I walk out of a store.
But I cannot–I will not–allow my joy to rest on fleeting traditions and temporary trappings of this world. Jesus is my Light, my Joy, my Solid Rock.
- The Gospel of John is like reading the diary of Jesus’ best friend.
- John 3 is Christmas to all. Acts 2 is Christmas to believers.
- By looking for Christmas in John, I found Light to live by all year round.
- How do you combat the blahs at the end of the holiday season?