A Weekly Meditation of Pastor Chang
< Christmas: When God Comes To Be With Us!>
*“Witnesses of Life after Death” will be continued next Sunday.
It is by the grace of God that this year Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on Saturday night and Sunday. The weather is just right, not too cold! Praise the Lord!
Christmas is the season of giving gifts. The reason was because God gave the best gift to the entire human race – His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It was not because we human beings deserved to receive such a great gift from God. It was because of our terrible situation – we suffer constantly in sinful conflicts and were Satan’s slaves in this life. The worst part was that after life on this earth, we were destined to become prisoners of hell forever.
Because of His love, God shows His compassion to us. He knows there is no way that we can be saved by any other means. Therefore when the time came, He sent His only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, born through the virgin Mary and incarnated into this sinful world. This sinless God-Man died on the Cross, shed His precious blood, washed away the stains of human sins, and paid the debts for our sins. After finishing His work of salvation, He rose again from the dead and gave us the eternal blessings to be with Him forever in heaven. Anyone who knows and accepts the offer of God will gain this wonderful gift of eternal blessing. How marvelous it is!
Jesus Christ, who saves us, also hopes to transform us. But He never forces or coerces us by His power so that we will fearfully surrender to Him. Instead, He attracts us with His love and guides us with His grace. Human history is a terrible record of human rebellion and treacherous and sinful thinking and behavior. All our achievements in history as well as those to come in the future are so imperfect, fragile and temporary. When we honestly see ourselves, we are so pitiful! We are hopeless and doomed. But God comes to redeem us and be with us.
I still remember a story of my elder son. When he was in 4th or 5th grade, he repeatedly did a terrible thing I really did not like. I told and warned him, “Don’t do it!” several times. But he kept doing it. I was angry. Finally, I needed to punish him. One night, I ordered him take his pillow and blanket to go to sleep in the van for one night (the weather was O.K. at the time) to taste the result of his rebellion. Of course, he cried and did not want to go. Finally he did but with a broken heart. He thought I would disown him.
While he was in the van for about one hour and still crying, I suddenly opened the door of the van. He thought I came to scold him for crying. He asked with a scared voice, “Why are you here, dad?” I answered, “Son, I came to sleep with you here.” I also brought my pillow and blanket with me. Suddenly, he stopped crying. He sensed that although he was punished, his dad was with him going through the night of punishment.
In the early morning, I carried him back to his bad to sleep. We reconciled because he knew that I, as his dad, still loved him!
The most beautiful story and fact of Christmas are this: This wonderful God never forsakes us. In our suffering, He sent His only Son to be with us. Christ is the Creator who created us and came to be with us. Finally, He saved us and died on the Cross on our behalf. And because of that, we are reconciled with the Father God. This is the most wonderful and beautiful good news in the human history.
Let me ask: Have you experienced such love from God? And do you still hold any resentment that you cannot forgive toward those who have hurt you before? Let us welcome Christ Jesus because He wants to set you free from this bondage. When you accept Him, it means He will restore your relationship with God and the power of forgiveness will help you break the chains of sin. You will also be able to forgive those who hurt you. This is the best “good news.”