If the year 2020 was a stocking it would be full of coal. Leave it to an unseen yet very real enemy of mankind to throw the world into turmoil. Where have we heard that before?
Thanks to a virus that can’t be detected by the human eye we have seen the hearts of men and women everywhere grow colder as they’ve been told to look upon their fellow man with great suspicion, even in the absence of any outward evidence of actual infection. Social settings once filled with random acts of merriment where faces were decorated with smiles, are now filled with calculated acts of dread with faces covered in fear. If the devil is real, and I believe he is, one can almost hear him laughing hysterically at this coup over mankind. No one knows better how to make men and women miserable without appearing on the stage than Satan Claus.
Christmas is a time of historical significance held dear by those who know the story. Mankind, miserable in all their ways, needed saving from a sorry situation. A situation where enemies existed both without and within, and virtually no power to do anything about either.
Entering stage right – Jesus, the Christ of Christmas.
Many of us know the songs or have seen the plays and pageants. We’ve driven by the nativities, admired the lights on both houses and trees. In a year where songs have all but stopped being sung and lights threaten to go out around every corner, the Jesus of Christmas is needed now more than ever.
Co-author of the number one selling book of all-time. Number one on the best seller list since before best-seller lists. No book ever has been more bought, sold, printed, distributed, translated, studied, borrowed, stolen, burned, restored, gifted or celebrated. Number two is so far down the list it’s make’s Wayne Gretzky’s records seem like 45’s. Jesus, the hero of the book, we need you this Christmas.
There were many who walked with Him and wrote to tell about it. One in particular, a man named John, wrote at least five of the books in the Bible. He was one of Jesus famous twelve disciples, yet was likely Jesus closest friend while here on earth. He’s referred to as the “beloved” friend of Jesus. To use the parlance of our time he was Jesus “besty” or “BFF”. His gospel, or good news, begins:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
In case you didn’t catch that, he is saying Jesus is God.
This is why new songs are sung, new Bibles are printed, new pageants are held, and new plays keep being written over and over again for nearly two thousand years. It’s His m.o.
…”’Behold, I make all things new!’” (Revelation 21:5)
At Christmas we all look forward to something new don’t we? New pants, new shoes, new skis, new jewelry. God wants to bless His children, like any good father would, with those new things we want and need. In fact, His perennial best-seller even tells us how to see this reality:
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
This isn’t necessarily a promise of material blessings. Those desires may be a restored relationship to an old friend or loved one. The ability to not walk around in constant fear, personal victory over a crippling addiction, or maybe to finally let go of past hurts.
Clothes, boots, shoes and things are all nice, but they aren’t what the world celebrates at this time of year. Rare is the song sung about shoes or socks. However the playlists at Christmas are full of songs of the redemption that comes from the King of Kings, come down to earth to save us from our hopeless situation. From the enemy without and the enemy within.
In the tenth chapter of John he tells us of a teaching Jesus gave to His followers. It begins with Jesus explaining who He is in regard to the salvation of mankind:
“I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture.” (John 10:9)
Luckily Vermonters can related to finding nice pasture, and who among us doesn’t want to feel saved right now?
His very next statement is timeless, and eerily resembles 2020, the year of our COVID:
“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…”
He was talking about the other thief. The one who comes down our figurative chimney’s unannounced and uninvited with the goal of stealing our gifts, destroying our joy and killing our dreams. Thankfully, Jesus is greater and reassures us:
“…but I have come so that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
This is why we celebrate Christmas ,Vermont. And why mankind has written and sung songs and plays and dressed the world in light every December since the day He was born.
Maybe this year have a new look at Christmas, Vermont. One you can’t buy on Amazon or have streaming through your smart television. Who among us hasn’t felt the chilling effect of an enemy who has come to steal, kill and destroy the very fabric of what makes our lives beautiful? More importantly, who among us needs to feel the promise of hope and restoration that comes from the One who conquered death in order to save us all?
That gift is available to everyone, especially this time of year.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him woiuld not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
The author is a Windsor County resident, fitness trainer, and registered chaplain for athletic teams.
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