If you are an original Keswickian like me, then you would know what open season means. There is opening of pike season, bass season, duck season, open season for deer hunting and then we can’t forget opening season for ice fishing. Never mind being a Keswickian or even a Newmarketonian or a Queensvillian. What does open season mean for a Christian? We all know there are four seasons.
At this time of year we find ourselves caught somewhere between Fall and Winter, freezing rain and Arctic temperatures. For most of us, our thoughts are about Christmas season. Over the past few Sundays our Pastors have sermonized us about what Christmas season means in the biblical sense. We have looked at the difference between two men who were once called the King of the Jews. The first one given this title was King Herod. He was also called King Herod the great”. What was he great at? Was it a self given title? In reality, he was a horrific King. He was a greedy, self centred, self seeking King who abused his power to the point of even murdering male babies who were under the age of two years old. Extreme measures taken, in an attempt to stop the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy regarding the coming of (Messiah) Christ Jesus. The birth of Jesus was a threat to King Herod’s throne, his power and ego. The birth of Christ the King would change history forever. God gave the greatest gift (His Son) by eventually bringing redemption from sin, to be received in the gift of eternal life. Wow! Born a baby yet God in flesh. One day He would be given that title, King of the Jews. The contrast between Herod and Jesus is incredible.
Every year we are reminded of the real reason for the season. We know it has everything to do with Christ’s birth. Who is Jesus to us today? John the Baptist, (baptiser) said, “Jesus is the light for all men to see”. More than 2000 years have passed and Christ’s light still shines today or at least it should shine through us to others. It is our job to make His joy speak able. To accomplish this, John says, John 3:30-36 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” That means to let go of our insecurities, our agendas and allow God to work. Filter out as much of ourselves as possible. John boasted in The Lord not in himself. Give God the glory in all you do. We must also remember the price Jesus paid on the cross.
I’m sure we all have many different experiences and perspectives about the Christmas season. We also remember those childhood memories of Christmases long ago. We might have good memories and some sad. My next door neighbour died in December. We attended her funeral. For their family and close friends, this will no doubt be a very sad Christmas season. Every morning as I look out my window and see her bird feeder that hangs in the tree outside their kitchen window, I’m reminded she is no longer with us. She loved to feed the birds and watch them going to and fro. There doesn’t seem to be as many birds cheerfully flying to the feeder these days.
Tragedy in whatever form it comes, can catch us right in the middle of open season. We can be asked questions which are difficult to answer. To many people, Jesus is no more real than Santa and it can be difficult to give someone hope and comfort using Jesus as the source. As Christians the challenge is to show others Christ’s amazing love rather than tell about it. Who was Jesus? What did Jesus do when He grew out of the manger? What can He still do for each of us today when we welcome Him into our lives and into our home? Jesus said, ‘What you do for the least of these, we do for Him.’
Matthew 25:44-45 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [a]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
Christmas season is open season. When I think about it, this time of year, people are a little more interested to know about Christ Jesus the Messiah. After all, His story gives some of us a warm and fussy feeling when we watch a play or movie of the Nativity. There is always nice music in the back ground. That is why I call this time of year, OPEN SEASON. As followers of Christ, we should be ready in season and out of season. So carry this message into the next season. Make the most of every opportunity. What does that mean? For me it means be ready to share the gospel message, answer questions, give guidance to someone or pray for someone. Don’t ever give up praying or believing (faith). How can we be prepared if we never take time to get to know Jesus? How do you tell someone about someone if you don’t know them or anything about them? You have to do your home work. Read the bible. Talk to God (Jesus) and also listen. Learn the different characteristics of the Father God, Son of God and Holy Spirit.
As I am writing this blog, I am assuming you have already confessed to God that you are a sinner and asked Christ’s forgiveness and for Him to be the Lord of your life. He stands at the door and knocks all the time. Hopefully, you already let Him in. If not, do this now, before you go any further. It is always open season with God. Like my neighbour Chris, we never know when our time will come to stand before Him and God will ask that most important question. “Why should I let you into my heaven? Did you let me into your life? All the times I knocked on your door, did you ever once invite me in?”
Wrapping this all up – open season means be ready and be prepared. How can one be ready if we are running around like a turkey with our head cut off. I’ve seen it and the image is not pretty. Picture this example. I’m sure it has happened to you at least once. Example – Someone comes up to you. They are in need. Let’s say that they have a life changing question for you. You have the answer tucked away somewhere in the back of your mind, but at that moment because you were so preoccupied with so many things, you are caught off guard. So you stand there and respond like that turkey with no head, going in circles. Not a pretty sight. Obviously the person who you could have helped, turned and ran the other way. You can’t be ready to serve God or others if you are like that turkey. I love the line in the movie spider man “With great power, comes great responsibility”. If we are children of the King Jesus (God) then we have been given His great power and great responsibility.
I know there have been many times when I have not been ready in season or out of season. It is not rocket science. We know we can’t shoot a duck if we don’t bring a gun. We can’t catch a fish without a fishing rod or fishing net. Imagine if the disciples were unprepared and never had a net in their boat.
Meditate on the word of God both day and night. All the great prophets realized the importance of prayer, reverence of God, and seeking His voice.
John 10. “ 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are [e]one.”
We individually all have a God calling. That tells me that if God is calling us, He also enables us to hear and respond.
Revelation 2 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ”
We can choose to do all these things to prepare us to be ready in season and out of season. Next time that question comes and stares you in the face, you won’t have to pick up your head and try and put it back on or suffer the embarrassment. In all likely hood that won’t happen in the first place because you will be ready and prepared and willing to fulfill that great commission, responsibility or calling. We can do this through His great power and thankfully not in our inadequate strength. Praise be to God and our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Blog – by Rebecca Robinson