“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT)
What if God had never sent Jesus to earth? In a recent devotional from Anticipating Christmas, a 5-day Advent Plan, on YouVersion I read: “Take a moment to imagine what your life would be like if God had never sent His Son to earth. Think about how it would feel to exist without the promise of eternal life, or a connection to God. Consider how it would affect your relationships, your sense of self, and your vision for the future.”
As I ponder those words it causes me to imagine how hard it must have been for the Jewish people to wrap their hearts and minds around the reality of, not a coming Messiah, but an ever-present Savior. On some levels it would have been like our anticipation as Jesus followers, of the second coming of our Risen Savior.
Christmas is a day to not only celebrate the fact of Jesus’ presence with us, but to ponder the implications it has on a world that has no understanding that God did indeed visit us on planet earth, or why He came. To me it’s not so much a matter of what difference did Jesus’ birth have, but what difference does it and should it have on the world today, but more to the point, on MY life and YOURS?
It’s incomprehensible to me to think of a world devoid of Jesus’ holy presence. Think of all He did in giving visibility and meaning to the life of the Father. It’s one thing to think of a God OUT THERE, it’s quite another to know you’re indwelt by a God IN HERE – in our own heart and life. All of a sudden, because of the first cries of an infant Son to a teenaged peasant girl, the whole world can have purpose, meaning, and eternal hope.
Notice I didn’t ask: Does Christmas Matter? Oh, my friend, it matters – more than anything else this world has to offer. Christmas matters because Jesus matters. Without Jesus there’s no forgiveness of sin. There’s no hope of eternal life or heaven or peace or security in knowing He is ours and we are His. There’s joy and celebration in realizing this life is not all there is. The futility of the proverbial “hamster wheel,” doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
But all these things are simply words on a page unless and until you make them the guiding Light of your life. It’s so easy to be religious, doing things by rote, going through the motions of religiosity – decorating the tree, buying and wrapping presents, cooking, serving, eating, laughing, crying, even worshipping – but your heart can still be empty and distant from the One who came to fill you with Himself.
Please don’t miss the Christ of Christmas! Please don’t just go through the motions, filling a role, playing a part, smiling while inside you’re empty and crying out, hoping there really is something to all this “Good News” of Christmas. On the authority of God’s Word and nearly 60 years of walking with Jesus – I assure you there is something to all of this! His name is Jesus and He’s God in human flesh. He’s Immanuel – God with us!
Nothing, absolutely nothing, has so much meaning and potential to change your life in ways you never imagined possible like yielding your life and allegiance to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you and fill you with Himself. Lay your soul bare before Him confessing your need of His cleansing blood to flow through your veins, purifying your heart and making you into a new creation in Christ Jesus. Determine by His grace and with His help, to walk in newness of life, trusting Him to lead you every step of the way.
Boldly align yourself with a loving family of Christ followers who will walk with you and help you learn firsthand why Christmas matters! I pray this will be your best Christmas ever as you draw ever more closely to your living Savior.
Blessings, Ed 😊