|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The awesome reality of the presence of God”
Our Bible verse for today: “Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Tell them it’s really about Jesus”
In recent days we’ve been considering the difference the Christ of Christmas can make in the lives of people living in even the worst of circumstances. We’ve considered the situation in war-torn Ukraine, and I’ve made reference to people living in poverty in places like Africa and the Amazon Jungle. The Christ of Christmas is needed by impoverished and homeless people right here in America, right there in your own hometown. As we learned yesterday, life is always better with Jesus than without Him, and that’s true regardless of the circumstances of that life.
But is that equally true for those living in comfort and affluence? Is it true for those who are not suffering and who are not in need? Yes, it is.
I had an unpleasant encounter the other day with a person I’ve known for years but only see occasionally. Honestly, he’s someone I tend to avoid if I can. He’s the kind of person who is always grumbling and complaining about one thing or another. He’s frequently critical of people and situations, and a conversation with him usually mostly involves him talking and me listening as he complains and criticizes. He’s also not a Christian and he is dismissive of the Christian faith. And so, after years and years of this, let’s just say I’m not always eager to see him coming my way.
But our paths crossed the other day and when they did, he greeted me with a grin and a snarky “Happy Winter Solstice, Jim.” Now, he knows I’m a pastor, and he knows that I celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, so his greeting was intended as a dig not as a sincere wish. I replied with, “Merry Christmas, (his name).” At which he snickered and shook his head in weary disgust. He is well aware of my faith and I’m well aware of his lack of faith.
Afterwards I thought about what a sad individual he seems to be. He is very smart (a retired chemical engineer); and his wife is a retired professional too. They seem to have a lot of money (he talks about his investment properties a lot and what a headache his renters are); and he and his wife are both healthy. But still, he is not happy.
Why is that? He has wealth and health and safety and freedom, living in a nice community in the greatest country in the world, but he is not a happy or content person. Why not? The answer is that he needs Jesus. He has lots of material things but he has a big hole in his heart where the love of Jesus needs to be. Psalm 43:5 (above) is about Him. His soul is dejected and in turmoil. He needs Jesus, and the Christ of Christmas came for people like Him too.
One way people learn the true meaning of Christmas is when Christians celebrate it for the right reason. This is a celebration of the incarnation of Jesus and people need to hear that, even if they don’t believe it.
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