I have been meaning to write for a while, but with the holiday season in full swing it is just now happening. I celebrated Christmas with some wonderful people here and had a great time! Then several of us j-girls went on an adventure through Macedonia. I rang in the New Year with some dearly loved friends – and the party is still going on (it’s is a three-day ordeal here – I love it)!
Orthodox Christmas is on January 7 so we are gearing up for that as we wrap up the New Year’s celebrations. With that in mind, I write this post. I wanted to share something truly meaningful… something that affects everything I do and everything I am.
The Lord has been teaching me a lot about what Christmas really means, but I’ve struggled with figuring out how to put it all into words and there would not be enough room here to do so anyways. Ironically, I found my inspiration from the introduction of “The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name” written by Sally Lloyd- Jones.
The introduction talks about how some people think of the Bible as either a book of rules or a book of heroes. The truth, though, is that the Bible does have some rules, but they are to show us how life works best – not to spoil our fun. The Bible also has heroes, but most of the people are rather ordinary and make just as many mistakes as you and me. She says, “But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what He has done.”
This next part is what grabbed ahold of my heart:
“No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back His lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves His palace, His throne – everything –to rescue the one He loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.
There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story – the Story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers His name. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”
This story, this baby, is what has changed my life. When Christ came to earth over 2,000 years ago He changed the entire course of history – and my eternity. Christ gave up the majesty of Heaven to live as one of us, only He lived His life without sinning. Because of that, He alone could pay the debt we could never pay for our sins.
The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The price for our sin is death; Jesus was the spotless sacrifice. When He died on the cross He paid that debt for all who would believe in Him. But He defeated death, conquered Hell, and rose again to life three days later. Then He ascended back to Heaven where He reigns even now as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
He will come again and no one knows the day or the hour. Those who do not believe in Him will suffer for all eternity. But those who trust Him will spend eternity with Him. Apart from Him there is no hope, no peace, no true joy.
Many people say they believe in Jesus, that they believe He came and died on the cross for sins. And they very well might. But true belief is shown in actions. When someone truly understands what Christ has done for them it changes everything. You want to live for Him. It’s not just about people saying they believe, but truly meaning it and living it. Salvation cannot be bought or earned – it’s a free gift. Just believe.
Because of Him I am who I am and I do what I do and I say what I say. I still mess up… a lot, but I have forgiveness in Christ. And He changes everything. This is why Christmas is celebrated – this is the only reason for celebrating. Anything else is just superficial hype. I hope each of you has/ had a very merry Christmas and that you each remember the reason we celebrate.