And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
- 1 John 2:28
When the first Christmas came, when Jesus was born, most people missed it. Of course, there were no telltale signs like reindeer on front lawns. No Christmas songs had been written. There were no colorful, twinkling lights or sales at the downtown market. Children did not find it hard to sleep that night, because it was a night like any other night.
But the first Christmas was not without its signs, which dated back a few centuries. The Hebrew prophets had predicted the Messiah was coming, and they were very specific in pointing out that he would be born of a virgin in the little village of Bethlehem: " 'But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting' " (Micah 5:2).
On the first Christmas, it was pretty much business as usual. Things had been bleak for the Jewish people for some time. There had been an icy silence from heaven. Four hundred years had passed, and there had not been a single prophet to speak for God. There had been no miracles performed. They were under the tyranny of Rome. Things were very dark. It was time for the Messiah.
Yet when He finally arrived, so many missed it: The innkeeper. The people of Bethlehem. The scholars. Herod. All of Rome. Only a handful of people got it and were ready.
Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth again. The question is, have we done more to prepare for the celebration of a past event than we have for a future one? We may all be ready for Christmas, but are we ready for the return of Christ?