The Christmas Gift?
The streets are filled with shoppers; carolers proclaim His birth; food baskets are prepared for the needy; ministries exhort us to make an end-of-year gift to erase 11 months of neglect. It is Christmas in America. And we celebrate the birth of the "babe in the manger" like in no other land. Statistics indicate that 80% of consumable yearly sales occur in this season. It is indeed the season of giving.
It is appropriate that Jesus came to us as a babe in a manger. We all know that a baby must be cared-for for 24 hours a day. As the child is nurtured and becomes strong, less care (or at least a different kind of care) is needed. Some say that maturity does not occur until the second decade; and it is in the fourth decade that the child is now ready to reciprocate.
As we relate this natural phenomenon to the word of God we see that accepting Christ as Lord and developing strength as a result of this acceptance is not an overnight process for most of us. When we ask Jesus into our lives He is as big as we allow Him to be. But, for most of us, this is not very big. Over time, He grows, but only as we yield to His will. You see, Jesus is the word of God (John 1:14 KJV). He came to us as a child with no power to care for himself, much less others. So how is it that we have come to revere Jesus as the Christ, the long awaited Messiah who expresses God's goodwill towards us by delivering us from our sins and empowering us to live a fulfilled life here on earth? It is only as we nurture the Word in us (Jesus) and allow that Word to mature us that we are strengthened. Perhaps it is better expressed by some verse penned years ago:
The Gift (Matthew 2:1-4) I needed to be rescued. I just couldn't take it any more! At my lowest point I cried out from embarrassment and need and He sends me a baby? Never mind that I'm already stretched to my limit-- this baby starts kicking; making demands, growing inside of me controlling what I do, what I say, what I hear pushing away all the mess --declaring himself King and making me strong.
At this time of year we celebrate this wonderful gift of the Savior from God to us. Yet if we receive Christ but do not nurture Him and allow Him to mature us, Christ will never grow and we will never be strengthened. Yet Christ will still live within--and God will be grieved by His suppression and our resulting lack of strength. But more directly to my real point:
Partial birth abortion is the process by which unborn children, up to eight months in some cases, are partially delivered from the womb while scissors are inserted into their heads and their brains are sucked out to be used in fetal research. Both houses of Congress have passed legislation to outlaw this horrible procedure; and the bill awaits signature by the President. But our President has vowed to veto the bill. He argues, with many, that no harm is done as these abortions take place at a time when the fetus is not viable outside the womb. The process positively affects life as it provides fetal tissue vital for research to sustain the lives of those already born. Others would respond that "fetus" is the Latin word for unborn child; and what parent thinks their child is equipped to survive outside the womb without extensive care, often past the age of 25?
Matthew 2:4, speaks of King Herod's inquiry concerning the birth of Jesus: "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born." The correct response is provided at 2 Corinthians 6:16 (KJV) " . . . for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." It is clear that the word of God is born in His people as we receive it. The Word grows within us as we nurture it. And it makes us strong.
The President has offered us a very inappropriate Christmas gift in this season of cheer. We will receive it? Or will we reflect the strength that has developed in us and demand that the bill be signed into law, or vote appropriately if it is not?