Several years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the shortest and perhaps the most meaningful message delivered while attending a Christmas Eve service. Midst a large throng that packed the sanctuary, the clock approached 11 p.m. the hour when the Midnight Christmas service was to begin.
People were dressed more formally than they might have been at earlier services. Candles were lit and a hush of expectancy filled the place as the choir and ministers were about to enter. Two close friends arrived in the pew next to us accompanied by their 4-year-old son, Zachary. Zach delivered the message - one for a lifetime. He exclaimed, "God's here." In my humble opinion, as they say, that's where the Christmas story begins for each of us.
Hundreds of years before, the followers and disciples of Jesus asked Him to "teach us to pray." And so he did. His intro went something like this, "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them... don't babble like the pagans." (Matt. 6:5-7) He meant for them to speak directly and sincerely to God.
He added these great words that are so appropriate for this season. "This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6:9-10)
Oh, that God would come, with the power of His kingdom, and that his will would be done "on earth as it is done in heaven." Love instead of hate would spread around. People would give to each other gifts of ourselves year round. No greater love would a person have than to be willing to lay down his life for a friend (John 15:13). Worry, fear, and angst would be given over into God's hands. The, "weary and heavy laden could come to him and find rest." (Matt. 11:28) We wouldn't worry about having something to eat or drink or what to wear because our Father knows what we need and all would be given to us." (Matt. 6:31-33)
A common term often used in the church is "maranatha" or "maran atha" (a phrase from a Syriac dialect of the Aramaic - 1Cor 16:22) meaning "our Lord comes" or "Come Lord." It was used as a greeting in the early church. Imagine with me how great it would be if people and our churches could keep the same upward look today. We would be carried away in deep awareness of both the coming and returning of our Savior as in Rev. 22:20, "Amen. Come Lord Jesus!"
It's all there for the asking. In more modern terms we can pray, "Lord, bring it." and know the great words of young Zach, "God's here."
Your Father knows everything you need and it all will be added unto you if you seek His coming into your life ... your kingdom. Join me at Christmas in asking, "Hallowed be thy name (make your name and reputation sacred and special). Bring your kingdom and your will to earth as you have in heaven"
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.