God is in the Manger

UPDATE: This is part 1.  Part 2 here.

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.

The same is true with Christmas. Continue reading