For some reason the Christmas season this year is stirring my heart more than usual to think about the real meaning of Christmas globally and personally.
On the global scene I have watched, in my 64 years of living, the gradual and sometimes not so gradual demise of the recognition of the meaning of Christmas. For many the loss of conscience thought regarding what Christmas is all about is innocent. And by innocent I mean not intentional or malicious. People just get lost in the rush and fuss of life. The frantic panic of Christmas shopping and Christmas parties and social events and family time can certainly crowd Jesus out of His rightful place in our hearts and in our “Christmas” activities. I find it alarming that we can put on the grandest celebrations of Christmas (Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ) and completely lose sight of the very One whose birth and life we celebrate. How can such a thing happen?
But then there is the intentional rejection of Jesus Christ…and the intentional rejection of the Real Reason for the Season. No public displays of the Nativity. No more saying “Merry Christmas.” No more talk about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as the One and Only way of Salvation. There has been a concentrated effort to marginalize Jesus and Christians in 21st century culture. And the tragedy is that we Christians have been like the proverbial “frog in the kettle.” We have become so accustomed to the politically correct requirements of a secular culture that we have contributed to the removal of the nativities and the Merry Christmas greetings and more.
This year I am at a place that the scales of my conscience are weighing what is truly important and eternal. Living life…living life in the real world …has a way of sobering a person and challenging priorities and perspective. This can a painful process…but it is a process that can produce wonderful results to the person who responds correctly to the process. It is like the weeding of the garden, the pruning of the tree, the removing of the rocks from the new ground. (Yes, I grew up in the country.) Sometimes it takes circumstances to help us be honest with ourselves. Circumstances can be like a mirror or like a true friend. This honesty will enable a person to know what is really and truly important in life.
Well, none of us ever get to the end of the process. We will be perpetual students in life. But we can grow and we can learn. And we should grow and we should learn. We should become better persons…and better Christians….growing, maturing and transforming into the very likeness of Christ who indwells every true believer.
What is important? First and foremost…our relationship with Jesus Christ. If this part of life is wrong then nothing else can be right. Stuart Briscoe once said, “God meets man on the level of his desire, man can have as much of God as he wants.” I love this statement. Do you have as much of God as you want? Going deeper with Him requires a hunger and a thirst for Him.
What is important? Family! My dear friends don’t pursue a life that leaves your family behind. Give your family the place God has designated in your life. Family are the ones who love you unconditionally and stand by you in the good and the bad times. You want your family at your side when you come to the finish line. Don’t leave them behind.
What is important? Friends! Wow! You are talking about life teaching you some hard lessons. Life has a way of sorting out lots of things. When life reveals to you who you true friends are you can say that you have made a marvelous discovery. A friend is someone who walks into your life when the rest of the world is walking out of your life. A friend loves, forgives, accepts, encourages …a friend will tell you the truth…a friend will love you unconditionally…a friend is treasure.
You have friend. His name is Jesus. He came to earth just over 2000 years ago. Born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He is the Son of God…the Savior of the world. John said: “For God so love the world (me)that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Christmas is about the greatest gift ever given! The gift of Jesus is available to all who will come to Him and receive. I pray that you have received this marvelous Gift.