It’s two days before Christmas and this year feels different. I have this odd feeling that it’s time to take down the decorations and move on. For some reason, it doesn’t feel like Christmas..
Maybe it’s because we had our Christmas party with our friends already. Maybe it’s because it’s just Chris and I. Maybe it’s because the kids have moved on. The warmth of Christmas doesn’t seem to be here.
All this leads me to think about the Christmas celebration. What is it? What is it supposed to be? We have turned it into a “family” celebration but why? Is that right?
Christmas is about celebrating Christ’s birthday. More than that though. It’s when God Almighty, Elohim, sent part of Himself to the earth to redeem those whom He loved in hopes that they would want to be redeemed.
When they saw his humility, his love for ugly ill willed people, the sinners, the Pharisees – those who proclaimed to be perfect and received the glory- but were hypocrites.
Why wouldn’t anyone want to be redeemed from a God who broke from total deity to subject himself to humanity? His creation. He loved them like they had never been loved, loving sinners, and prostitutes, government officials, young and old alike. The unwanted, the lonely, the broken and those struggling physically, emotionally and mentally. You and Me.
He served them, washing their feet, healing their diseases, teaching them the way of Love.
He believed in them, taught them they had a purpose and could make a difference.
He respectfully submitted to them even when they abused Him…knowing there was a bigger plan than what we could see…
Who would not want that kind of love?! He meets us where we are – rather than demand we perform for his love… Unconditionally, he loves us and seeks to meet our needs.
Maybe those that don’t really believe they have anything to be redeemed from.
Look around. Take a good look. What do you see?
Sometimes when we’re on a diet we look in the mirror and each day we don’t see the change. Until we bump into someone who hasn’t seen us in a while and they notice immediately.
Often change is subtle, so subtle we don’t see it or ….
It doesn’t directly affect us so….we don’t do anything.
But look around. Look at your city – where the kids hang out, are they in their yards playing with neighborhood kids?
Look at your country – the turmoil from the government… to the people who have lost loved ones, the battle of addictions at an all-time high (drugs, alcohol, video games, shopping, eating, sex, cutting, etc.). Distractions become a part of us and then become our identity.
Why aren’t the kids hanging out down the street playing with kids? We may say that all is okay, but we know in our hearts it isn’t. Our world needs redemption.
We need a Savior. A redeemer. A rescuer. A deliverer. A protector. A knight in shining armor. And that was why God sent a part of Himself to do just that for us. Jesus provided redemption.
Redemption from what? From the justice we each deserve. A way to turn back to him. Our creator.
Oh sure, some of us look good, and some are very good. But we aren’t good enough to reside with an entirely Holy God. He can only dwell with holiness. Jesus provides that for us. He provides, through our faith in him, holiness… so that we can live free daily and through eternity. Not that we’re instantly holy! But a subtle changing of our attitudes, thoughts, actions…. When we are face to face with Him, then we will be holy (unfortunately, not before then). Christians aren’t perfect – they just desperately wanna be!
We who accept the redemption he offers, can live daily with a “lifeline.” You remember the show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” When the contestant didn’t know the answer they could use a lifeline. Call a friend – hoping that friend would have the answer.
Jesus is that lifeline. He does have the answers. Sometimes they aren’t black and white, but they are “love.” They are true and for our benefit. He may simply hold us through our struggles, problems, and difficulties. Sometimes, when we call on our Lifeline, he imparts wisdom and direction to us – which we know could not have come from ourselves.
The redemption he offers is clear. It’s an offer to see more than what we can see in this physical world. It’s an offer to spend eternity with a Holy God, without pain, suffering, with joy and worship. It’s an offer that brings with it hope. Hope for a life that has purpose, fulfillment and joy. Hope that we can reach others in love and make their world a little better and show them the redemption we are so blessed to receive.
As we approach another Christmas, I want to focus on what I do have – There is hope.
I know God Almighty. And He so graciously sent his son – a part of himself – on Christmas day so many years ago – to offer me and you redemption. A hope and a future. A meaning for my life. A meaning for your life.
Without Him, without Christmas…. It’s just tinsel, lights and shopping for yet another gift I really don’t want to buy..
With Him, with Christmas – it’s a celebration… because we have been seen. We have been thought of – by the Most High God… and He wants us to dwell with Him throughout eternity and work with Him through this life to make it better for us and for those around us.
I think I’ll go turn the Christmas lights on….