If you want to know how much God loves us, look in the manger. If you want to see how much God hates sin, look at the cross.
Joy Williams is a celebrated Christian singer/songwriter. She released Here with Us in 2005. Some how, some way, I had never heard it until last year. The video above combines her song with images from The Nativity and the mini-series Jesus of Nazareth. Christ coming into the world is cause for celebration, but don’t loose sight of the fact that… he came to die. Continue reading →
Have you ever seen a live nativity? Instead of plastic figures of shepherds and wise men, a live nativity scene has actors in costume, and for an hour or two each evening you can drive by and see them. The shepherds bow and worship, the magi present their gifts, perhaps Mary rocks her baby in her arms, or else Mary and Joseph simply admire him. It’s unlikely, even at a live nativity, that they have an actual newborn present. The “baby Jesus” might be a toddler, or even an infant, but you wouldn’t want to keep a real baby out in the cold for very long. Even a live nativity scene will often use a doll, or even just pretend there is a babe wrapped up in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger.
Contrast that scene with the night Jesus was born.
The nature of all sin is that we are so easily willing to settle. We could have the very best of all that God has in store for us, but all too often we take the easy way, the short cut, the path of least resistance or instant gratification. Instant gratification may the biggest temptation our culture offers today. A functional relationship with an actual human being takes time and effort, whereas “hooking up” for a one-night stand requires no long-term commitment. I contend that the long-term benefits make the commitment a worthwhile endeavor. A thief – or simply someone who is lazy – is thinking hard work pays off eventually, stealing pays off right now. But there are also consequences for cheating to get ahead. Sin is almost always an attempt to skip to the good part. Satan tempted Jesus three times with shortcuts; turn this bread to stone, prove yourself by jumping from a high place, bow down and worship me. (1) Any of those would have brought more immediate although less rewarding gratification than by taking the slow, painful path to the cross. Sometimes God’s will is the slow, tough path. The problem is that we are willing to settle for less.
There is an old saying that is Christianity were a lie, they would have made up a better lie.
Think about it. The basic tenants of the Christian faith are that a carpenter from a small town in Israel was crucified by the Roman Empire, buried, rose again from the dead, and that faith in these events is what gets one into heaven. These are just the basics. We could make a long list. To be a faithful Christian, one must believe: Continue reading →
I’m on vacation this week, and haven’t written much. I’m linking to an excellent post entitled Jesus is God Incarnate. The name of the blog is Fundamental Christianity. Maybe you are, maybe you’re not fundamentalist, but the centrality of Jesus Christ in scripture and his deity are not up for disscusion if you’re a Christian believer. Check out the post and see if you agree, I’ll be back in one week.