By Timothy Coman
Corinth First United Methodist Church
There was a time long before Black Fridays, Amazon and Cyber Mondays, when life existed apart from smartphones. We all remember those days of innocence when life was simpler.
For a brief moment, let us consider the true meaning of this season, not from the standpoint of political correctness, not from a conservative or liberal view. Think about it from the perspective of a child who might ask, “Was there really a Baby Jesus?”
Virginia O’hanlon wrote to the New York Sun in 1897 asking, “Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?” An editor named Francis P. Church responded, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!”
So for a moment, I adapted Mr. Church’s response to fit the title of this column, as if to say, “Yes, Kylie, there really is a Baby Jesus!”
How dreary and sad the world would be if there were no Baby Jesus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Kylies. There would be no childlike faith, no poetry and no romance to make tolerable this existence. Some may say, “I do not see Jesus, but it doesn’t reflect He is not here, for He resides in the hearts of those who have come to know of Him personally.”
In a season filled with marketing, commercialization and frenzy, have we forgotten why He came, what His purpose was and what kept Him here?
Yes, Jesus still resides in the hearts and lives of people around the world. At this time of year, we celebrate by offering gifts, by symbols such as nativity scenes, images and traditions, but in reality they serve no purpose if they don’t stir our hearts to remember what they represent.
The most amazing part of this story is that God never wanted to force His Son on anyone. Jesus could have been announced with thunder and lighting, but He wasn’t. God could have brought together the most influential people on Earth to be witnesses of the new King’s Coronation, but He didn’t.
God chose a poor girl from a lowly village to give birth to the new King, and if we recall from their culture, she had no rights; in fact, Joseph could have had her “put away,” as the Bible stated.
God chose a stable, not a palace for a new King’s birth, and Shepherds (common laborers) to be the first witnesses. When God chose to come to Earth, He came to the least, the last, the lowest, and the lost, and these people witnessed the birth of a King who never owned a home, never held political office, and never made a grab for power, but some 2,000 years later is still the topic of conversation.
It would appear in 2017 for some, they have replaced the word “Christmas” with XMAS or happy holidays.
In this season, there are many who fight internal battles and face mounting struggles. We have more information but less wisdom. We are busier, but it seems less gets accomplished. Our world today seems angrier and more cynical about the struggles that surround our lives. But God always shows up when the world feels devoid of hope.
So in this season, what will you do with this Man named Jesus Christ? If you had an opportunity to exchange gifts with Jesus, what if He said to you, “If you will give me your anger, I will give you peace; If you will give me your fear, I will give you perfect love?”
To those who have all the money and possessions and who rushed into a store on Thanksgiving to purchase a $2 waffle iron or you couldn’t wait for Cyber Monday, are you missing anything?
What happened to our childlike faith, our innocence?
We can have all the symbols in the world, exchange many gifts, string up a thousand lights, place nativity scenes in front of our homes and decorate our churches. But without an understanding of why He came, why He lived and ultimately, why He died, and as long as we hold onto our fear, anger, struggle, addiction or desperation, we will ask the same thing, young Kylie asked, “Please tell me the truth, is there a baby named Jesus?”
Maybe this CHRISTmas will be your year to trade your heart for His…