Good Morning Brothers & Sisters…
I confess…I enjoy ‘National Lampoons Christmas Vacation’. I smile at the under the breath comments, the forced happiness of the extended family get together, the squirrel in the tree, and I have always wanted to run a chainsaw in the house. Lets face it, we all have a ‘cousin Eddy’ character in our family tree, we all struggle with anxiety over the Christmas season, and we all try to capture the Christmas Spirit. For us men, I think there is a little Clark W. Griswald in us all. But the part of the movie that is stuck in my head this morning is the scene when Clark got locked in the attic and the rest of the family went shopping. He found some old home movies of ‘Christmas Past’…and was filled with good memories, which translated to peace and joy in the present.
For us Christians, we should celebrate Christmas as a memorial, or a remembrance, of the reason for the Incarnation (God coming to earth as baby Jesus). God came, not to show us how to be God, but to show us how to be human. God came to teach us how to see, and hear Him, in all of life’s circumstances. God came to defeat the power of death and evil. God came, not to cleanse sin’s, but to cleanse sinner’s. God came because He loved us so intimately and unconditionally that He was willing to empty ‘Heaven’ to provide us with an avenue of salvation. God came because He trusted that some of us would seek Him, and thus find the treasure beyond measure…eternal life, which is to say an eternity in intimate relationship with God Himself, and each other. God came, because it is completely in His character to do so.
Churches all over the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus this weekend. Some will do it in elaborate fashion, some will do it very simply, but all Christians will remember manger scenes, Mary and Joseph, the singing of angels, joyous shepherds, etc-etc. I wonder if we will also remember that Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” He said that to His disciples as He was departing earth for the right hand of God in heaven. It looked like He was leaving, but we know He only left in physical form. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is still here, alive and well. I wonder if we will remember what earth was like when Jesus was alive and well? Read with me from Matthew 4:23-25:
23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
When Jesus is alive and well, the sick are healed, the lame walk, the blind see, the pain goes away, the grudge against your neighbor dissolves, animosity evaporates, hunger is satisfied, bitterness turns to joy, crowds will gather to catch a glimpse of Him, death ends and life begins…when Jesus is alive and well. I hope we remember this Christmas that Jesus is STILL alive and well, and desires to operate within the Church, His bride, His soul mate. Why is it, that we are so quick to stay home from Church when we feel sick? Why is it, that we elect to stay home from Church when we are angry with somebody else who also attends their? Why is it, that we can think of all kinds of reasons to not attend Church…? I wonder if it’s because we have forgotten Jesus is alive and well and still walking the earth. Where else should the sick, blind, angry be to find help and healing but ‘church’? If signs and miracles began to manifest in your ‘church’ building…do you think the word would get out? Do you think it would make a Facebook post (or two), do you think Twitter may light up, do you think a recount of the miracles witnessed would pass from your mouth to someones ear? I think it would. I think people would hear that the sick are being healed, that the blind see, that the bitter are joyful. I think people, just like in the story from Matthew 4, would flock to bear witness to the miraculous works of Jesus.
Is Jesus alive and well in your church?
If He is, give praise to God, and remember that Christmas is the beginning of Jesus being alive and well in your church. May that memory translate into the peace and joy of the moment…the Christmas Spirit.
If He isn’t, He certainly can be and wants to be. Turn back to Him through repentance. Pour your heart out to God and cry out for the ‘Christmas Miracle of His Presence’ becoming alive and well within your church. It certainly is the season for those types of miracles.
Merry Christmas my Friends, and God Bless You