Ask most Christians for a definition of Christmas and they'll tell you it's the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus.
We know He wasn't actually born on December the 25th; and, we know scripture doesn't command that we celebrate His birth on a special day - We should celebrate Him every day. But, regardless of the actual day, we know Jesus had a birthday; and, as humans, we like to recognize those we love on their "special day."
We're not told to have stained glass windows, leather bound bibles or crosses above our churches either. We have these things because they help us remember and display our love for the Jesus the Son and our connection to God the Father.
As you celebrate Jesus' birth, remember that this "special day" was so much more than just a birth. It was even more than the miracle of God taking the form of a man to walk among us. Jesus' birth marked a reconnection - a reconnection of us to our God.
When sin came into the world we became separated from God.
When sin entered the world through the trespass one man, death (separation) through sin, came to all, because all sin. But the gift of Jesus is not like the trespass. For if many died (were separated) by the trespass of the one man, how much more has God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflowed to many (and brought us back together)! (Romans 5:12-16)
We have been reconciled (reconnected) to Him through the death of His Son. How much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved (made children of God) through his life? Therefore, rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11)
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." (Philippians 4:3)
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 2:5
Friday: December 23, 2005
"Lost in the woods at Christmas"
Even if you've never been lost in the woods, close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine what it would be like.
No paths anywhere, just green and brown foliage that sometimes just covers the ground but is disturbingly deep in spots. Snow is scattered around over the ground and it's cold. There's only a small amount of sunlight breaking through the canopy of trees blocking out the sky; but, there's enough for you to see - for the moment.
There's no breeze at all. It's blocked by the huge trees that extend as far as you can see. There are sounds; some small like leaves being rustled by squirrels; others a little less identifiable and a lot more worrisome.
As you walk, nothing about the scenery around you changes - no clues to your location or direction; it's getting colder... and darker...
Fortunately, you have a compass and you know the way home is north. All you have to do is keep your eye on the compass, keep moving north; and, eventually, you'll be safely home.
Although you're very well educated, you never really understood all the science about the earth's magnetic field. You've even heard stories about the magnetic north moving...? Whatever that means.
The words "Water Resistant" are printed on the compass. That's good because you've gotten it wet several times. Now would probably be a good time to know the difference between "Water Resistant" and Water Proof."
Since you have no idea where you are or which direction is north, do you trust your compass? You can't see north but the compass can... You think... If you follow your own wisdom, something deep down inside knows you'll stay lost. If you follow the compass, you could find your way home; but, if it's wrong, you'll still be lost. What should you do? You can guess - make up your own direction - or you can follow the only guide you've got that's consistently pointing in the same direction.
If you decide to follow the compass, you'll be following something that you don't understand. You'll be placing your trust is something you cannot test or prove. Of course, if it gets you home, you'll know it was worthy of your trust.
Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-29)
Even though you can't see what's over the next hill or behind the next tree, Jesus can. Even though you can't prove His words are true, will you trust Him? If you try to get through life on your own, that same still small voice keeps telling you that you'll stay lost. But, if you trust Jesus, and He's wrong, you're still lost.
However, if Jesus is telling the truth, and you follow Him, you'll find your way home.
Jesus is both a liar and a madman; or, He is the Son of the Living God. If He is a liar and madman, thousands who saw Him and walked beside Him while He was here chose willingly to go to their deaths for the sake of a lie. If He is a liar and madman, the miracles He performed were lies as well and most of recorded history (not just the Bible) must be in question.
If He is a liar and madman, millions today who talk with Him daily are either mad themselves or choosing to willingly follow and perpetuate a lie. If, on the other hand, He is the great I AM, He has promised to take those home who call on His name and follow His commands.
It's your call. Will you trust the compass to know things you do not know? Will you trust Jesus to have a better plan for your life?
I couldn't think of a better time to accept Jesus as your compass and commit your life to following His direction than the day we celebrate His birth.
If you find yourself longing for a way home and ready to trust Jesus to be your guide, just say these words:
"Lord Jesus, I need You. I've followed my own direction up until now, and I'm still lost. I realize that I need to trust You if I'm ever to find my way home. I need your love and forgiveness in my life.
Today, on the day we celebrate Your birthday, I'm going to start trusting You. I ask You to come into my life and make a change in my heart right now. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for dying for me and for being here, right now, beside me.
I accept You as my Lord and Savior! I accept Your Word as true and I will follow You from this moment forward! Thank You for coming into my life and for receiving me into Your Father's Kingdom. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."
If you spoke these words from your heart, you are on the path home and you're following a compass that will never fail. God bless you and from all of us at GospeLines, we rejoice in your decision and we wish you a Merry Christmas!
The GospeLines Writers and Staff