As the time approaches when Christmas is celebrated, the cacophony of buying and selling reach an annual peak in many places. In a larger sense, the evidence of the clear lack of inner peace in peoples and nations is hard to dismiss. While there are peaceful families and regions where the traditions stand strong, one wonders about the reality of people truthfully having a biblical world view based on sheer historical evidence and current affairs. So what is wrong? The mystery is not hard to solve according to the Bible. We sin. The Bible makes it clear how things came to be shortly after He created all things. He made a record of what ancient man did in those early circumstances and unfolds a history of the repercussions of sin. But the Record also marks a history that precisely projected Christ’s birth. He was born under miraculous circumstances, lived a quiet and perfect life, was revealed in a dynamic way without fanfare, and spoke the message of the Gospel (the good news of God with us if we repent and follow Him). And, in following Him from the heart, He promises eternal life. I showed some of those things in my 2016 Christmas card.
Within a couple years of His birth, many babies were destroyed by the local leader, who was afraid this “King” might arise. 3 years of public ministry did not begin until He was about 30. After three years or so, Jesus was crucified. It states the Pilate knew he was being delivered out of hatred and envy. While Jesus could have resisted his physical death, he did not. After His resurrection He explained that it was necessary to fulfill scripture. Within a few decades 12 disciples and a rapidly growing number of followers turned the world upside down, or at least the part that would listen. Many did not. It is the same way today as most of the world continues its broken ways. God’s invitation to know Him, who gives us breath and everything else, however, still stands. Christmas is a reminder of the message and the choice that we have.
You see, it comes down to a choice. Christ spoke of it often. Are you searching for the peace that God offers? Do you want eternal life? It is not a road paved with popularity, or fancy words, or riches in a worldly sense. It does, however, come with a peace that is not like what the world promises or gives. Frankly, the way is not becoming more acceptable. It is becoming less. We now, at least in the US, have codified in education that He did not create the universe (it happened by itself), humankind comes from something less than human, sexual immorality is a right (do what you want if it feels good). It goes further. Marriage has been grossly cheapened, babies need not be considered real enough to defend, and the list could go on. At least for this country, we are being destroyed from within as increasing anti-biblical stances are being touted as the “right” thing to do. So the choice one makes to follow the God of the Bible is not always in a friendly environment, but the rest of the world is messy, too. Things are not getting better because we have technology. The world has a fundamental heart problem because we want our own way — not the way of our Creator.
But that does not mean the message of the Gospel is less true, it just sticks out more. So Jesus explains about the wide way and the narrow way. Which one might you choose? What I mean by choose, is that a person’s words are inexorably connected with the person’s walk, or, in other words, word and deed agree. After decades getting to know Him, I realize all the more that His love is perfect and so is His righteousness. You don’t get one without the other. Hence, the message of Gospel is not complete with both. Whole regions can, as a result, celebrate Christmas, say things that sound good, but do nothing to repent of sin, various immoralities, greed, and the like. Then they have missed the essential point — having a living relationship with Him that involves repentance, obedience, casting aside sin, and chasing after God.
Choose wisely. He brings life for those who choose the “narrow” way.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (ESV)