(written August 31, 2005)
“So, do you commemorate Christmas?” a classmate of mine, eager to know about Christianity, asked.
Hmm, good question. I suppose I didn’t get to think of it much. In the one and a half years since I’ve accepted Christ as my Savior and the Lord of my life, I was too overwhelmed with God’s love, His faithfulness, and His grace…flooded with His blessings and even more thrilled in discovering the many ways I can bless others as one of God’s new ambassadors.
The decision to follow Christ and to walk with Him may be a one-time event, but it is definitely a lifetime commitment. And being Christ’s ambassador is a 24-7 job, because God’s desire is not only for me to turn to Him and be saved, but for all people to do the same. Sometimes, I go and tell people. Sometimes, they ask me. Like my classmate.
“Well, historically Christmas probably occurred around summertime, not December…” I started, and he immediately nodded his head. We both knew of the stand of scholars that December 25 was just a date to observe the birth of Jesus and was not based on any historical account. And that Mary and Joseph and the shepherds could not have traveled nor stayed outdoors for long if the first Christmas did occur in December.
“…but as a cultural event, yeah, we celebrate it,” I added.
The discussion quickly moved on to ‘meatier’ topics: sin and salvation, divine will and human will. But a week later here I am, reminded of that particular piece of conversation.
Right now I could say I’m amazed. Amazed that (a) wow, it’s been a year since I’ve dedicated my life to God, and (b) really? That’s just in one year? These less-than-twenty months with God are infinitely more fulfilling, exciting, HAPPY than the more-than-twenty years I spent without Him.
January 2004. It was thesis time, but I hardly noticed. It was easily the darkest, most depressing season of my life, and I was looking for anything and everything to fill the empty space in my soul. Eventually I realized that that empty space was there all along; that it was the piece of me which is eternal and is looking for the only One who is eternal; and, humiliating as it sounds, it was only when I was at the end of my rope that I finally reached out for my Father’s extended hand.
Come December 25, 2004, I was merry. After all, we were celebrating the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. But then again, I was joyous the day before, the day after, the week before, the week after. The gladness of heart persists, day after day --- not only because Jesus came into this world because He *wanted* to save me. I am glad because He actually *did* save me!
Every now and then I commemorate not Jesus’ birth, but my rebirth: “Last year I was ___, but now I’m ___.” “I used to think ___, but God has shown me that ___.”
I was blind, but now I see.
I was bound, but now I’m free.
It is His desire not just for me but for all of us to be saved.
Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, has *already* died to take the punishment for our sins.
But unless we stop trusting in ourselves or in anything other than god, until we accept that there is only One who can save us and has already saved us, then we are bound to repeat endless seasons of sin, guilt, regret, and pain.
I may or may not know you personally, friend, but I know that without God in your life, nothing will completely and perfectly satisfy. Whether in a season of hope or helplessness, a season of doubt or disbelief…it is my prayer that you turn to God and offer your life back to your Creator and your Savior.
For the God of all seasons is the Love of all seasons…
And only He will get you through any season!