I can’t believe that it will soon be Thanksgiving and then — blink twice —Christmas wraps you in tinsel and another year is gone! Speaking of years passing, I have seen 60+ of them flow by. According to my calculations, there are less ahead than those visible in my rearview mirror on this one-way road to eternity.
Regrets? Some. Thankfulness? Lots.
Reflecting on Christmas Past, I have “Tiny Tim” memories of my 5th Christmas. I remember lying awake, trying to visualize the wonders under that tree and then trying to fall asleep so the night would end and I could jump out of bed and — Carpe diem! It would be time to seize that wonderful day!
It was a celebration of family time!
That 5th Christmas was in the 50’s. Either you personally remember the 50’s or you have heard or read about it. I lived it.
It was a time of innocence. It was a time of the restoration of our nation. The 2nd World War had ended, I was one of the first of the baby boomers, and life was good. If fact, it was grand! A brand new and shiny red Schwinn 22″ bike with a large, bright white bow was patiently pawing the floor awaiting my early morning resurrection into a new world of mobility!
I remember another Christmas a wee bit later in the fifties but 956 miles from that earlier Christmas. It took place just after the birth of my younger brother and only sibling in 1954. It was a joyous time! It was a celebration of family time! It was a Knights of the Round Table and King Author time as I excitedly ripped the wrappings off my shinning new sword and shield – making me Sir Lancelot of Camelot!
Ahhh – those were never-ending days of youth – somehow ending when my back was turned. Hazy days of youth never to be revisited although lovingly contemplated into the twilight of my remaining time here on earth.
Speaking of my time here on earth and my reflections back over the years, coming to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior outshines any present that I ever received at any time in my life. He granted me knowledge of God’s holy love for me, a sinner. The gift He bestowed on me didn’t come wrapped up in shiny, bright tinsel but steeped in His blood – dripping from his body and running down the wooden, Roman cross of His humiliation and disgrace. Humiliation and disgrace undeserved by him and meant for me. I was washed white as snow in that righteous, crimson flow!
Oh glory! Praise God on high! That gift, surpassing all other gifts, was one of eternal life and fellowship with Almighty God that completely restored me through God’s grace. Grace that was bought and paid for by Jesus Christ about 33 years after that first and miraculous Christmas when Christ was born.
“…When I became a man, I put aside childish things.”
–1st Cor. 13:11
The angels who visited the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem as mentioned in Luke 2:8-14 (HCSB) below:
8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” 13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!
Notice what the angels said in verse 14. The people that God favors on earth will have peace. Peace? What kind of peace? Would those favored by God have peace with one another? Would countries that God favored have peace with one another?
Would all wars end? What did the angels mean by that word peace?
Let’s look at Romans 5:8-10 (HCSB):
8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.
10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, ⌊then how⌋ much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!
Check out what Paul is saying to the Romans in verse 10. Notice the two words, enemies and reconciled? Paul is saying here that before we accepted Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we were enemies of God. He goes on to say that we were reconciled. What does he mean by reconciled? Reconciled to God. Enemies of God now at peace with God.
How? We were changed from being enemies of God to being reconciled to God through the death of Jesus! We are saved by His life!
How are we saved by His life? By believing in Him and confessing all our sin, we repent (turning away) from that sin – put aside our will (self) – let Him live through us by the power of the Holy Spirit and follow Him!
Wow! I remember that first Christmas after hearing the gospel and being convicted by the Holy Spirit that I could not save myself and that I was going to hell without Jesus! What a wonderful blessing Jesus is! What a wonderful present!
Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 (HCSB): “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.”
When I was a child and experiencing those wonderful 50’s Christmas gifts, I had no idea of what awaited me in Christ. Everlasting life with Him. Without Him, I would have had everlasting death…separated from Him forever in hell. I have long sense put down the sword of Sir Lancelot and picked up the sword of the Holy Spirit! Now I am no longer an enemy (out of fellowship) of God but a friend of God, a child of God and rightful heir with Christ!
Are you still an enemy of God? You are if you don’t have a personal relationship with His son, Jesus Christ! Give your life to Jesus. Let His will be done in your life rather than your sinful will. Only He has the answers. Only He has eternal life for you.
Carpe diem! Seize the day! The Bible, the word of God says in 2 Corinthians 6:2 (HCSB): 2 For He says: I heard you in an acceptable time, and I helped you in the day of salvation. Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.