I love Christmas. I love the decorations. The lights. The gifts under the tree. The family getting together. Even now, I can’t sleep on Christmas eve because I am so excited to see the faces on my family members when they open their gifts. Once a kid, always a kid…right?
Just like the celebration of my own birth. Or the birth of my son, daughter or husband. A party! Decorations! Presents! Joy!
But, I never gave it any more thought after that. Have you?
Have you ever wondered why Jesus was born? Why did he live for only 33 years on earth? If he was really the son of God, why did he die at such a young age. Couldn’t God have let him live longer?
Now, back in the day, when Jesus began his teaching, life was rough for people. Sin was rampant with no consequences. There was no hope. Rome was king. The officials were corrupt. People could never measure up. Never do enough. Never be good enough. (Sounds a bit like today doesn’t it?)
At the age of 30 Jesus began his 3 year ministry. He spoke as if he had authority. He taught things that no one had ever heard before. He spoke of forgiveness. He spoke about hope. He spoke about life.…a full and vibrant life. A life free from condemnation, despair, and judgement. A life with a heart set apart. A heart that did not follow the crowd.
They hung on every word. Have you ever listened to anyone and didn’t want to miss a single word because what you were hearing was just so great and awesome? Yes? Well, that is exactly how the people who listened to Jesus felt – completely mesmerized.
And, as they were listening, they were wondering ‘Is this true?’ They were wondering ‘Can my sins be forgiven?’ ‘Can I really be set apart?’ ‘Can I really live a life that is not filled with dread and despair?’ ‘Can I really live without shame and guilt?’ And they hoped everything that Jesus said was all true….even though they did not know if it really was. Because they knew that they needed help. They needed someone to save them. They needed hope. They needed this good news.
What is YOUR version of Jesus? What do you REALLY know about him? Does your knowledge come from what others have told you, what you read in the newspaper, what you have observed? Or, do you even have any knowledge of him? Have you ever taken the time to figure it out? Or, do you just dismiss Jesus as inconsequential in not only your own life, but in the lives of others as well?
This is what I think…..I think that when a person bumps up against Jesus they realize that they really aren’t so good. That they fall short of their own, and others, expectations. That maybe they are liars, cheaters, and sinners after all. So, rather than opening up the door of truth about themselves..…it gets slammed shut. Because who wants to look at the ‘not so good’ in themselves. Do you? Me either.
Now, I never looked at myself, or should I say, into myself. I just went with the flow. I did what every one else was doing. I didn’t think much about the consequences. And then, when I was about 50, I ran into Jesus. And whoa baby….was I convicted! Only along with my conviction, a better way was introduced to me. An easier way. A happier way. A more peaceful way. A celebration of life that not only could be lived, but could be lived to the fullest. I, Jane Shine, could live my life victoriously. Wouldn’t you like to live victorious too?
Jesus came to save. To give you a better way. To help you navigate these hard hard waters of life. To remove the despair and the hopelessness. To give you joy and peace and strength.
He came to give you hugs. To carry you when you can’t carry yourself.
He came so that he could say to you, ‘Welcome Home’.
Jesus’ birthday is the really the REAL reason for the season. A baby was born….in order to die. He died so that you and I can really live. A full and victorious life.
Enjoy this Christmas. Take some time and reflect on Jesus and let him be who he came to be – your personal savior….so that you can go ‘home for Christmas’ too.
Luke 2:10 ‘But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’ (emphasis mine).
Romans 10:9 ‘If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’