Christmas begins with a calling...
This is an excerpt from my latest novel, The Doorkeeper. It has been taken from chapter four, The Lowliest Door, pages 38 to 40.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls," he began sweetly, "it is my extreme pleasure to welcome you to our humble church this Christmas Eve. And it is my special delight to introduce our guest speaker for the evening: Miss Devorah Anne Rabinowitz."
All eyes turned in surprise to where Dari was sitting with her mother; she calmly rose from her seat and, carrying a large black Bible that had belonged to her father Joseph, headed up the aisle to where Pastor Samuels stood. He took her tiny fingers into his own and gently kissed the back of her hand. She curtsied slowly and then stepped up to the podium.
"Good evening," she began solemnly. "My sermon tonight is based on a text from Isaiah the prophet." Dari opened her Bible and began to read, " 'Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' "
Dari kissed the page of her Bible and then looked out at the audience waiting to hear what she would say.
"Where does Christmas begin?" she asked peacefully. "Christmas begins before the foundation of the world; and it begins with a calling. Christmas is God the Father at work, foreseeing the ruin of man, and calling His Son, Jesus, to be our cure.
"Christmas is Immanuel, which means God with us. God Almighty consented to enter history through the lowliest door possible: He entered though the womb of a virgin so that He might save His people from their sin. He chose to enter humanity humbly, so that any and all might be able to approach.
"Christmas is the calling and consent of Mary to be the birthplace of God; it is the calling and consent of Joseph to be the guardian of God.
"Christmas is the Immaculate Conception achieved by the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Christmas is the census that called Mary, the daughter of Heli of the tribe and lineage of David through his son Nathan, and Joseph, her betrothed, a carpenter, the son of Jacob of the tribe and lineage of David through his son Solomon, to Bethlehem, the city of kings.
"Christmas is the calling of shepherds by the visitation of an angel; it is the calling of the heavenly host giving praise to God; it is the calling of wise men that followed a star to worship the newborn King.
"Christmas is the humble cradle, a manger, the trough for animals, which set the tone for the life of the God-Man to walk the road that led to the cross of Calvary.
"Christmas is the crucifixion of Christ; His death purchased our redemption.
"Christmas is His resurrection from the dead and ascension into the clouds of glory, where He sits at the right hand of the Father, calling out to each of us to surrender our lives to Him so that we, too, might be a "Bethlehem," or birthplace, for the Son of God.
"So, this Christmas won't you consider the calling of God? Won't you give your consent for Him to enter into your life so that you, too, might know the joy of His mercy, love, and forgiveness? He humbly stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Won't you invite Him in?"
Dari stepped down from the podium as Pastor Eli walked to the front of the church.
"The Lord Himself said," he began, "that 'whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.' Tonight, we celebrate the birth of the Lord. Won't you make room for Him in your heart? Please, pray with me to receive Him.
"Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner; I believe You died to pay the penalty for my sins and rose from the dead to give me new life. I turn now from my sin and ask You to forgive me; please enter into my heart and help me to live each day for You. Amen!
"If you prayed that prayer, please come forward so that we might also pray for you."