We’ve all heard the expression “seeing is believing”. Some people make it their mantra for life. Unless something it plainly visible or provable by some kind of method they won’t accept it as fact. But our Lord is asking us to come into a different level of life. We understand this clearly in this Christmas Season. God is asking us to come into a barn with all of its animal smells, look at a poor new born baby lying in one of the feeding troughs, and worship that baby as our God. We don’t usually paint the manger scene in such rough terms, but that’s what it was. That baby lying in the straw is our God. It doesn’t make sense to science, and it sure doesn’t look like anything we would expect, but that infant is the one true God who came into the midst of our rough world to share with us all of its smells and dung. He came to share our life so that He could bring us into His life. We all go through those unlikely, even very unpleasant, places in life. Whether it looks like it or not God is there. Worship Him.
My family is asking me to give them a list of things I would like for Christmas. I always have a problem with this because I really don’t need anything. There is nothing I particularly want. But I did make the effort Sunday. I looked through all the volume of advertisements that came with the Sunday paper to see if there was anything that struck my fancy. Well, a couple of things came up as possibilities, but one item caught my attention for a Good Morning comment. For $28 one can buy an “electric s’mores maker”. I read that and thought “that’s just sad”! Now a s’mores is one of those gummy concoctions made with gram crackers, melted marshmallow, and a piece of chocolate bar. They are wonderful. But they are intended to be made while sitting around a campfire in the evening, roasting marshmallow on the end of a stick, blowing out the flame when it catches on fire, and quickly putting it between two crackers with a piece of chocolate. All the while laughing and talking with friends and family. Maybe even singing a few songs. Must we really mechanize everything? Might we not consider making time for some of the older slower ways of doing some things that involved people, and conversation. Maybe even a family camping trip on the living room floor around the fireplace. Seems to me that that might be better than a $28 electric s’mores maker. Which, by the way, is not on my list. Give it some thought.
Peter, John, and a few other disciples were with Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection. Jesus took Peter aside to talk with him. John was not far away. After some necessary conversation between the two Peter looked back at John and said, “Lord, what about this man?”. Jesus responded, “If I have a different plan for his life what is that to you?”. Peter, Jesus was saying, You will have enough to deal with if you pay attention to the conduct of your own life. A good lesson for our age and any age. We are sinful people living in a broken world. We worry a lot about this one or that one not doing what they should, or what we would like them to do. But we can’t change them. We can only change ourselves. We pray for other. We minister and help in whatever situations we are able. But our prayer is for the Lord Jesus to continue to change and guide our own lives that we may be able to love and serve other in a better way. Read the John 21 account. That’s what Jesus was doing with Peter so that he became an effective servant to the Jewish community and to the newly born Christian Church.
A man came to Jesus one day and asked, Teacher, which is the greates commandment of the Law? Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”(Matthew 22:37) Yesterday I asked for thoughts about my tin can telephone. I received a number of thoughtful replies. You see, when we look around in life we see the gracious hand of God in so many, and sometimes very unexpected, places. Too often people only see the bad stuff our sin has caused in the world and ask “if God is a loving God how could He allow…..? But they miss the many demonstrations of God’s grace around each day. It is His hand even in such mundane things as tin can telephones that shows us His love, and causes us to turn to Him again in love. Dear Christian friend God loves you personally and deeply. He is working in your life in so many ways. He has demonstrated “his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) There has been no greater expression of God’s love than what we see in Jesus. Keep Him at the center of your life and return His love with heart, soul, mind, and strength.