The joy and hope of Christ­mas

Times-Record - - Religion - By LARRY PRITCH­ETT Pas­toral Pon­der­ings

As I sat down to write the col­umn for this week’s Pas­toral Pon­der­ings, which I knew would be run­ning be­fore Christ­mas, I thought I would share some­thing in the spirit of Christ­mas.

I al­ways like to read church signs and the thought-pro­vok­ing mes­sage on them. Our church this year was given a new sign by the three sons of Dorothy Lewis in her mem­ory, which we are thank­ful for, so I was think­ing about what to put on it this week.

I have seen “Keep Christ in Christ­mas,” “Je­sus is the rea­son for the sea­son,” and “Wise men still seek him.” As I was think­ing about that last mes­sage, even though it is true, maybe we should add the fact that wise women and wise chil­dren also still seek him.

I don’t be­lieve I have ever read that mes­sage with­out think­ing what the mis­sion­ary Jim El­liot once said: “A wise man will give up that which he can­not keep to gain that which he can not lose.” Once again, we can sub­sti­tute woman or child in the place of man.

In the spirit of Christ­mas, I be­lieve from the very be­gin­ning it has al­ways been God’s in­tent to bring ev­ery­one to Christ, and we see that in the story of the wise men recorded in Matthew 2:1-12. I am sure all who read this col­umn are fa­mil­iar with this story, but we need to re­al­ize that some­times we can be so fa­mil­iar with the sto­ries in the Bible, we of­ten fail to see the sig­nif­i­cance of them.

We all have heard about the gifts they brought of gold, frank­in­cense and myrrh, and how they rep­re­sent the most valu­able things they pos­sessed, which for us, is our heart and life which we need to give to Je­sus.

An im­por­tant fact we nor- mally don’t think about is who these men were. They were Gen­tiles, liv­ing hun­dreds of miles from Beth­le­hem, and they were known to be ma­gi­cians and as­trologers, prac­tices God had ac­tu­ally for­bid­den. And yet God used a star, some­thing they could iden­tify with, to reach them and bring them to Christ.

That is the joy and hope of Christ­mas, be­cause that is telling us God al­ways has and al­ways will make ev­ery ef­fort to bring ev­ery per­son in ev­ery pos­si­ble way to Christ. God did it for the wise men and He will do it for you. Re­mem­ber, the wise still seek him.

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