Have ever woke up on the wrong side of the bed? I have. I know a few people who have too! Nothing like starting the day off in a bad mood. From there the day is all down hill. Worse yet is having to spend the day with someone else who has a critical attitude. Those are the days you really pray for the Lord’s Return.
With all joking aside, just as we get up on the wrong side of the bed, we can also get on the wrong side of Christmas when we lose focus on what Christmas is. So often I catch myself grumbling about the many parties and social gatherings I have to attend, instead of rejoicing in the fact that I have people in my life who love me and want to spend time with me. I find myself busily checking off my to do list which leaves me stressed to the max and on the wrong side of Christmas.
Yet, those things which really need
to be prepared are left undone.
To really experience and enjoy Christmas I need to spend my time and energy in preparing my heart, mind and soul. If I want to fully appreciate Christmas and all it’s blessings, I have to be on the right side of Christmas.
As we learned in my last devotion/blog-The Faith of Christmas-, Zechariah and Elizabeth were prepared for Christmas. Luke tells us although they were not perfect, “they walked in righteousness before God in all His commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”. Their hearts, minds and souls were ready to experience the miracles and blessings of the first Christmas.
Luke gives us further evidence of their faith in verse 11.
And there appeared unto him
an angel of the Lord
standing on the right side
of the altar of incense.
(Luke 1:11 KJV)
I don’t know if you have ever read a verse in the Bible that just grabbed you? Well, this one grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I had meditated on it for a while. Why was it important for Luke to say the angel was standing on the right side? Why not just say the angel of the Lord appeared at the altar? I think there are several reasons.
The angel was standing at attention towards the One who had sent Him. He was standing because He was on a mission to deliver a great message. He was standing to let his audience know he had something to say. He was standing because he had authority over the room.
Not only was the angel standing, but he was standing on the right side. This is the part of the verse that grabbed me. The angel was standing on the Right Side. Not the left, or the center, but on the right. Reading those words my mind begin to swirl. Verse after verse came rushing back to my memory as I thought about the right side.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.~Psalm 16:11
Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.~ Luke 22:69
And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.~John 21:6
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.~Mark 16:19
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.~Romans 8:34
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.~Colossians 3:1
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.~Hebrews 12:2
Over and over through out the Bible Jesus is referred to as the right hand of God. Several Scriptures teach us that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God in the throne room. The Bible also teaches us that Jesus is the Word of God including John 1:1-18. My mind (my tribe as my Sunday School class calls it) began to fill with amazement and wonder.
Here, in this verse is Jesus, Himself!
The Word of God, standing at the Right Side. He might not have been there in the flesh, but it was Jesus alright in the form of an angel. I found this definition for the Incense Offering–It was the offering of the person whose sins had been forgiven by blood and who then went on to express the fragrance of love and worship, which was most pleasing to God. (Bible-History.com) As Zechariah offered this offering, the Great Sacrifice, met him there.
Zechariah’s heart was right before God. He was on the right side of the altar and the right side of Christmas. Even in the midst of all his troubles and trials, even in the midst of doubts and confusion, even when others had turned away, Zechariah held fast to the promises of God. Zechariah did not waver in his faith. He continued to walk daily with God. He continued daily to serve God. He watched daily for God. Zechariah’s heart, mind and soul were prepared for Christmas.
There at the right side of the altar of incense,
Zechariah received his
Christmas blessing and miracle.
He was in the presence of Christ!!!
Are you missing out on your visit from Jesus this Christmas? Maybe, it is time to move to the right side of the altar.
Is your heart, mind and soul to prepared to receive the message Jesus has for you? Are you ready to receive the miracle of Christmas? Are you standing where you can be blessed? Have you offered the offering of incense? Are you walking as Zechariah and Elizabeth walked blameless and in righteousness before the Lord?
In order for Jesus to appear to us, to talk with us, to bless us, we are going to have to be on the right side of the altar.
Are you on the Right Side of Christmas?
Dearest God, Please never let me
Crowd my life Full to the brim.
So like the keeper of Bethlehem’s Inn,
I find I have no room for Him.
Instead, let my heart’s door be ever open,
Ready to welcome the newborn King.
Let me offer the best I have
to Him who gives me everything.
Each of us is an innkeeper which decides if there is room for Jesus
-Neal A. Maxwell