The joy and hope of Christmas
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.