It is this first verse that has caught my attention today: “Seek the Lord while he may be found: call on him while he is near.” Christmas time (The Season of Advent) is nothing if not a season when we are reminded that the Lord is near. Each day we are surrounded with symbols of the Lord’s nearness; Advent is after all, a celebration of God’s coming near to us in the form of Jesus.
Take a look around you right now. Chances are that you will see a reminder of the nearness of God.
Maybe you can see a Nativity set or scene—a picture of the moment when God was born into our world to rescue us.
You might see a Christmas star—a symbol of the light that so long ago guided wise men to the one true light that has burst into our world.
Maybe you are near a Christmas tree—an evergreen tree that reminds us of the eternal nature of God, covered with lights reminding us that Jesus is the Light of the world and topped with an Angel or a star reminding us again of Bethlehem.
Maybe your attention is captured with gifts today (either which ones to buy or which ones you hope to receive). We give gifts at Christmas both because of the gifts the Wise Men offered to Jesus and the fact that at Christmas we recognize that Jesus Himself is a gift to us from the Father.
You may see a picture of Santa Claus, but Santa is forever linked to the real life character of St. Nicholas, a third century Bishop of Myra. St Nicholas devoted his life to helping the sick, needy, and suffering. The story that connects St. Nicholas most closely to Christmas is the tale about his rescuing of a poor man’s three daughters by throwing a bag of gold into the window to provide a dowry for each daughter to get married. (This is where we get the tradition of Christmas stockings by the way!)
There are so many Christmas symbols that draw our attention back to the nearness of God. So as we approach Christmas this year, I pray that you will use this season of Advent to call you back to the meaning behind many of the Christmas symbols —to remember that this is a season when you can seek the Lord and call on Him…because He is near!