Lifelines December 22, 2019

All eyes are on the one we call Jesus.  He has our attention in the once-a-year ritual known as Christmas.  Lighted trees fill the neighborhoods and decorations adorn our streets.  Presents will be exchanged with those we love as families gather across the globe.  It is a fun time of year, but it will pass.  All the festivities will come to an end, and routines will resume.  Then what?

The reality of Jesus will not change.  Hearts that were made merry might lose their joy.  Bright wrapping paper will suddenly become disposable trash.  Trees look empty, almost sad.  It all loses its glitter the day after.  Then what?  The attention that the Christ child gathered during this festive season will wane.  A bit of a letdown will set in.  The world returns to normal.  The Lord seems to be put in a box and shoved into a corner of a closet for another year.  The only thing that has not changed is Him.

Our emotions ebb and flow.  They are often slaves to times and situations, swinging upward when circumstances are good and downward when they’re bad.  The Son of God is not like that.  He is as consistent as the Father who sent Him (Hebrews 13:8).  The character that He demonstrated during His brief stay in this world has never varied.  It never will, and we can only gather an accurate understanding our heavenly Father from Him (1 John 5:20). 

Both Father and Son displayed an incomprehensible love through the remarkable life of the One who voluntarily entered this sinful world.  Heaven is the ultimate goal for every child of God, and Jesus was there and stepped away to join us here.  Temptations were real.  The potential to fail was ever present.  The tempter lurked around every corner.  He experienced human weakness and struggle.  He knows about hunger and physical pain.  He understands what it is to be betrayed.  Denied.  Abandoned.  Alone.  Totally, absolutely alone.  Yes, He knows in ways that we never will.  Unless we reject Him.  Then we will know…forever.

He gave up that unimaginable equality with God to save us from an eternal separation from our all-loving Creator.  He knows about the power of emotions.  He wept for the grief that His loved ones suffered (John 11:33-35).  He agonized over the prospects of His impending death (Matthew 26:36-46).  Yes, He literally knows exactly how we feel but never allowed it to dictate His actions.  His sole focus was the salvation of humanity (Matthew 1:21).  From cradle to grave, He was never sidetracked from that task. 

As we see nativity scenes splashed all across the world, let us never lose sight of the eternal significance of the Christ child.  He was born to die.  He came to free us not only from the penalty of sin but also our enslavement to it.  Enjoy the season, and always remember His ultimate purpose.