Monday, December 26, 2011

Thoughts on Christmas

I. Introduction

We often focus on the wrong star. We are so easily distracted by things of this world because we are of this world. The ways of God are mysterious and often hard for us to understand, while the ways of the world appeal to us. Besides, we can’t see God, we can’t hear God, and sometimes we wonder if God is even there.

Maybe God hasn’t answered your prayers as you would have liked, and you feel abandoned or betrayed by God. While God isn’t a genie in a bottle who fulfills our every wish, God does love us and is there for us in times of need. Maybe you can testify to that because you have experienced God’s presence in times of trouble.

Stars that Point to God

How do we know that God loves us so much? Jesus coming to earth is a sure sign of God’s love. Would you leave the comforts of heaven to come to earth, especially knowing what was going to happen to you? I know I wouldn’t.

We also know God loves us because God makes it easy for us to find him. At his birth a special star pointed the way for the Wise Men to find Jesus. Today we don’t have that star, but we have other things pointing the way for “wise men” to follow.

For example, we have the Bible, we have creation shouting out the glory of God, and we have the life stories of believers. At a particular time in history the people of that day could actually see, hear and touch God, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. Today we can still see, hear and touch God through prayer, Bible reading, worship, and the people God puts in our lives.

The Magi followed the star because they knew that baby was someone special – they referred to him as the “King of the Jews.” People come to him today because Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.”

Redirect Our Lives

As we begin to understand that, our focus changes.

Worldly things will have less appeal, because we know there is something much better. The things of the earth lead to a dead end – when you’re dead, they end. On the other hand, the things of God last forever.

As we turn our eyes upon Jesus, we will have more of an eternal perspective and less of a worldly viewpoint. As we turn our eyes upon Jesus, we will experience hope, love, peace, joy, and reconciliation. As we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.


So which star are you following? The star of success or career? The star of materialism? The star of escapism? (thru busyness, drugs, food, porn, booze, denial) Or are you already following the Star of Bethlehem?

If you are, then you are fulfilling your God-given purpose in life – to be in relationship with God. That’s why you and I were created – to know, love, and serve God, and to be with him forever. If you are following a different star, then why not pray the words of the fourth stanza of the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. I’ll personalize it by using the first person:

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to me, I pray;
Cast out my sin, and enter in, be born in me today.
I hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell;
O come to me, abide with me, my Lord Emmanuel!

Merry Christmas.

No comments: