A Christmas Challenge
So, are you ready for Christmas? That may seem like a dumb question (especially for those of us who do things last minute), but it’s pretty obvious that Christmas preparation is in full swing.
People are out shopping (no doubt a few of you keeners are all done yours). The decorations are up. Lots of you have been wisely using these lovely fall days to put up your outdoor lights. (Thankfully I leave most of mine up all year; it’s the red neck in me).
Soon we’ll be into the thick of the Christmas parties, concerts, and other family get togethers. Christmas may be a great time, but it’s also a busy (and at times, stressful) time. It’s also, may I add, expensive.
I read a recent survey that says that we spend on average about $600 on food, gifts, and entertainment. And it’s more like $1,200 when travel is factored in. Ouch.
Even though we’re plenty busy with all of this over the holidays, let me throw out a challenge. Whether we’re religious or not, attend church or not, I would think that most of us know that Christmas has something to do with Christ.
So here’s the challenge. How about a little bit of going back to the roots of Christmas? Of checking out where all the fuss started. Who is this Christ? Why do we celebrate his birth?
Sure, we’ve heard things about him. He may even be part of our vocabulary. But how much do we really know about who he was and what he did?
Hence the challenge. Do you have a Bible somewhere? Pick it up and over the next month read the book of John (you’ll find it listed in the index).
Let’s see, early on you’ll discover that he never came to condemn this world, but to save it. A chapter later he tells us that he came to quench a deep thirst that we have. Then a bit later he makes this incredible statement that he came so that we’d have life, but not just life, something he calls a “full life” (or in other accounts, “abundant life). In the next chapter he promises to take care of the ‘death’ problem. “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies,” he says.
And the stories go on. There’s one about him stripping down and washing his disciples’ stinky feet. There’s these amazing stories of him doing miracles like feeding 5,000 men (plus women and children) with five loaves of bread and two fish.
And it all ends with him dying and being raised from the dead.
Let’s see. There’s about a month left until Christmas and there are 21 chapters in this book called John. That should make reading it doable.
Are you up to the challenge? Go for it. If you need a Bible, I’d be glad to hand deliver one to you (just write firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sure, I admit, I’m biased. But I think when you read the story of Jesus Christ you will be intrigued. Fascinated.
If you already know him, you’ll love him all the more. If you don’t yet know him, you may very well be drawn to him.
Pastor Clarence Witten