So many of us look forward to Christmas for a variety of reasons.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve met the holiday season with some sort of warm feeling, some sort of anticipation and some sort of excitement.
But I’m wondering how often we really focus on the real meaning of Christmas. I mean, when we are kids we are caught up in the magic of it all, hopefully.
As we grow older, it becomes more about giving and also about being around friends and family. Again, hopefully.
As parents, we sometimes get so caught up in all the “to-dos” that Christmas can become a chore. I remember hearing adults saying things like “I’m glad it’s over.” I must say with some shame that I can relate to why people say that. We allow ourselves to completely miss the season.
And yes, I’ll use the cliche: we miss the reason for the season.
People shy away from getting too invested in the story of Christ. Sure, we like the nice little story of the baby and the young parents and the wise men. We like hearing that Jesus came to save us.
But if we get too invested, we have to face the whole “Jesus as Lord” aspect of the story and that is something people really don’t want to pay too much attention to.
After all, we want the “savior” part. Just not the Lord. We want to be able to go about our business, make our own decisions all the time, and live the way we want. We don’t want to be told what to do.
I’ve said it before and I’ll go toe-to-toe with anyone. The Bible is a complete story, cover to cover, of truth. That is becoming more and more of an issue as time goes on.
People want to squawk and fuss about some of the stuff in the Bible. They want to speak up and start a bunch of statements with “Yea, but.” People want to roll their eyes and use words like “too religious” and “holy roller” and all that stuff.
Jesus came to save us. What exactly does that mean?
Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We were born sinners and we still sin daily. We are guilty. We need a savior.
The Bible tells us that Jesus saves us from sins by his word. He didn’t only come, take all the sins of the world on his shoulders, and die for us. He also called us to something: repentance. This means being sorry for our sins and turning away from them.
Now, that ain’t easy. Not one bit.
We can get on a pretty good jag for a period of time. We can ask forgiveness, turn from our “wicked ways” and be on the straight and narrow for a while. But we are humans with a limited amount of understanding. We don’t quite understand how we can try, fail, try again and fail again, yet ask forgiveness and be forgiven.
Yes, God gives us grace and mercy. He continues to forgive us, hoping we grow and learn, hoping that we rely on him to help us avoid the things we keep failing at.
But as Psalms 107:20 says, “God sent his word and healed them.” We are freed from the bondage of sin. When we embrace what God has done for us and what he will do for us, we also embrace the truth and are set free.
It’s taken me almost a lifetime to even half-way get it, folks. I’m still and probably always will be learning. Searching. Failing over and over, yet knowing I know a God who is merciful and forgiving. Knowing a God who had the perfect plan to sacrifice this man, who came as a baby, so we may live abundantly.
I realize people don’t want to go this deep into what it all means, and it’s not because they are bad people. But in my opinion, I’m not doing any good by keeping my beliefs to myself. Might as well share what I wholeheartedly believe – 100 percent.
What do I expect anyone to do with what I’m sharing? I don’t know. If you believe, even a little, I hope you’ll embrace it and look into it a little more. I hope you’ll pray and truly ask God to reveal things to you.
It works. Give it a shot. Just sit there and talk to him like you would anyone. Tell him what you struggle with believing. I guarantee you’ll get answers, if you are open and willing to hear.
If you don’t believe but are willing to search, read and make your own mind up, then I hope you’ll do that. Again, God listens if you pray.
If you are against going in this far, then I respect your opinion. I’m not going to try to shove anything down your throat. But Jesus came and died for you too, and I will always believe that.
As flawed, messed up, and nasty as I can be much of the time, I will tell you Jesus has saved me. He has loved me. He has forgiven me.
As I said, this stuff is too good for me to keep quiet about it.
So, my friends, I wish you Jesus this Christmas.