Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
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Here we are again. Christmas time. Remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. Having more people around than usually. Perhaps you know why you are here. Perhaps you don’t. Perhaps it is because we all are looking for something.
So many live in restlessness. So many live in frustration. Some days it seems that the whole world is against us. Many live in fears. Fears about tomorrow. What will it bring? So many are not happy and satisfied.
Regardless of what we do. So many live lives where they are never good enough, no matter what. So many are confused, about who we are and why we are here and how to go about this whole live thing.
Perhaps you know why you are here. What is it? Or maybe who is it?
Now, imagine for a moment … a world where you cannot know the truth. Where you can’t be sure about who you are. What this world is about. Why are you here… Imagine a world where true, genuine, unconditional love doesn’t exist… Cold and ruthless world…
Where you can’t be accepted as you are, with all your faults and imperfections, where there are always pressures to match the expectations, to be somebody you are not, to do something, to fit in or else…
Imagine a world where there can’t be true safety and peace, where there is no one, no one whom you can fully trust and be assure that he is in control and will take care of you, whatever comes. A world without hope…
How do you like this picture? I assume, not so much… quite depressing. We just imagined a world without Jesus. That’s right. And that’s what life looks like for too many people around us.
Because without Jesus Christ there is no truth, there is no true, genuine love and joy. There is no safety and deep peace and true rest and there is no hope. Maybe this is why we are here. Because we all long and thirst for same things, and sooner or later we realize that the world can’t give them to us.
We just watched children enacting the Christmas story. Story… What do think when you hear the word “story”? Many would assume that the word means that it is about something that is simply made up. A nice story. Meaning, not real.
But think about this – someone asks you – hey, tell me your story? What do they mean? Are they asking you to make something up, something that is not real, that is not true? Or, are they asking for true you… tell me who you are!
We all live in the world that is shaped by stories. Some of them are true, some are false. Therefore we need to choose wisely. True stories lead to our flourishing, false stories to our withering. Most of stories we are fed daily are not good for our flourishing at all.
The whole advertisement industry that fills most of informational space tries to appeal to these our deep longing and to give their answer – get that, do this, go there, belong here and … your heart will be satisfied, you will be good enough.
We have stories that tells that happiness in found focusing on ourselves. Others teach to do whatever our hearts desires as if there will be no consequences. We have stories that assure us that certain status or possessions, or achievement will make us more valuable as we are otherwise, or grant us safe future, and so on.
I am sure you could tell me about many other stories… I am sure you could also tell how it goes when we try to live them out.
We just heard the Christmas story. And it is not just a story. It is the story of this world, or we could say – it is God’s own story. Or if we are blessed by God, if God Himself helps us to choose wisely, this can be also our story.
Jesus’ birth is only a part of this story. In this story everything begins with the benevolent Creator, who created everything that exists, not because He had to, but because He wanted to share His love with others.
As a pinnacle of His creation, He created us, each one of you, in His Image and likeness. He entrusted us to populate this planet and to take care of it and promised to bless us. However, then our story took as tragic turn.
We all live in the shadow of that turn. You know what it is. Even if many want to deny it. I am talking about … what is wrong with us. We think thoughts that we are ashamed of. We desire things that are harmful to us.
We do foolish things that hurt us and others, and we do them again and again. As it is written: “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Rom 7:19) That’s us…
But God’s reaction is unexpected. We like good people. It is easy to love them. True God reveals Himself in a very unexpected way. He is not looking for good people. He shows the incredible depth of His love sacrificing Himself for those, who don’t know Him, who reject Him, who hate and mock Him.
He shows what genuine, unconditional love is like. He becomes one of us, so that we can know Him as He is. This is what we remember and celebrate today, and in this story everything is unusual.
God doesn’t destroy those who hate Him. He comes to save us. He doesn’t stay out there. He comes to dwell where we are, He reveals to us the truth and calls us His brothers and sisters.
And this story goes on. The One who created each one of us, He also knows what we truly need and long for, and He is the only One who can give it to us. More, He wants you to have all that you were created for, He wants it so much, that He doesn’t stop calling you.
He wants to make us members of His family. He wants you to call Him – our Father. He longs to care for you. He longs to give you peace and joy. He wants you to experience what true, divine love is like.
He wants to have you with Him, under His protection, now and in the age to come. There is no better place to be, there is no higher joy, no deeper fulfilment, no greater satisfaction than to be with Him. To be with Jesus.
That’s God’s story. Story about who He truly is and who we are. A very good story for us. And if we are humble enough, we can hear Him gently calling us. ‘Come, my beloved child, follow me and I will bless you.’
I pray that this evening as you leave this place, you would leave a piece of your heart here… for Jesus, for God who desires to be your Father. So that He could show you how much different your life can be with Him.
May God help you to choose wisely!