Lately I have been hearing mixed messages about Jesus.
Some would say.... well we ALL are saved. God is a good God He doesn't want anyone in hell. And while part of that IS true God is a good God and he most certainly doesn't desire to send people to hell ... He does. When we don't choose Him. The only way to Him is through His one and only Son, Jesus.
Recently I heard a pastor teach on the 7 major world religions. On the chart he handed out he said that 33% of the world is Christian. But in that 33% he included many different nonchristian believers. People groups that do not believe that Jesus is the one and only way to heaven. I do think that in that liberalism.... in that "religious tolerance" the truth is watered down too much and that the Gospel is not preached in a way that leads anyone to the saviour.
But the opposite is also true.
I have dear friends that are Messianic in their faith... that observe the Sabbath and follow the rules in the Torah claiming the law is the only way. I think this is equally dangerous. Being too bound by the law, and entangled in the chains of legalism they teach that Christmas is an abomination. But sadly at a time of tear when many seek the saviour - they are pushing them away from the Jesus who paid the ultimate sacrifice and took their place killed as a common criminal for their sin. Are they so far removed from the day they received their own salvation that they can no longer remember the redemption that was inly available by grace. That whether they trim a tree or debate when the birth of Jesus actually took place upon the Hebraic calendar doesn't really matter at all. It is the birth of Jesus that is important not the debates. As those debates could lead unbelievers further and further from how great Gods love is.
Do we celebrate Christmas? Well we do. But hopefully like many other Bible believing Christian families we do it differently. We go to church on Christmas eve. We try not to get sucked into the vortex of greed and commercialism. We try to live within our means. Not purchasing needlessly on credit buying things we cannot afford. Trying to teach our children that black Friday... in itself is not evil.... but the greed associated with it is. We teach that Santa was a real man... the history and truth... and that all good gifts are from God. We don't pretend to deceive them that they will find laptops, ans ipods under the tree... as those things fade. We exchange 3 gifts. Some of which are handmade... a representation that the baby in the manger was brought 3 gifts by the Magi. We teach the truth of His birth. That the babe in a manger was probably not born in December but that this is when we celebrate His birth as Christians. We bake cookies and take them to neighbors as a gesture of kindness. We do.much like this throughout the year but we do make an extra effort at Christmas and pray a bit more fervently that they also would come to know and love Jesus.
Unlike my very liberal friends we serve Jesus with our lives - where often you cannot tell whether or not they are believers. The profess christ with their mouth and yet deny Him with their actions. My other friends abide by the letter of the law. The law Jesus came to complete because noone could achieve it. They measure how they love Jesus by how strictly they follow the law.
But I don't think that is the answer either
I think when Jesus is your 1st love you live your life seeking after Him. Reading His word. Abiding in His desires. But all the time being aware that you are saved by grace... and you want everyone you know to experience that grace and love Jesus like you do.... drawing them to the saviour not repelling them from Him.
May you share the truth of the saviour this holiday with friends, family, and those you just meet. Making them ask you - what is different about your life. Take time to keep Jesus at the center of this holiday. Bring someone a warm meal, a plate of cookies, a gift for their children but most importantly invite them to church and introduce them.to your 1st love - and maybe if you can't say that Jesus is your 1st love... its time to let Him be that.