Once upon a time, there was a wondrous birth of a very special child. This child was heralded as the prince of peace, a savior of the world. Great extra-terrestrial miracles and signs exclaimed his birth, and heavenly messengers exclaimed “Peace on Earth, and Good Will Towards Men” to those who would listen. This was a very poignant message, and this child grew up to personify this very message. Yet those very people he gave his good message to, reviled and hated him for it. They falsely accused him and had him brutally executed in a most humiliating manner. Yet, all the while this was happening to him, he expressed love and forgiveness. Had anyone listened to his simple message? A message so simple a child seems more capable of understanding and living it.
Yes, some did listen, and tried their best to live as he taught. None were like him, but many became very good men and women who set great examples themselves. Unfortunately, those seeking power were jealous of their power to attract other good people. They devised a plan to infiltrate this group and either destroy it, or usurp it. Oddly enough, they achieved both. They had those in authority to act in his name killed off and executed so a gaping hole would be left and they could fill it themselves as teachers and mentors. Thus began the dark ages, and it was dark for this very reason.
For many centuries these power hungry evil men proclaimed themselves to be followers of that great man, yet their actions and teachings were nothing like what he taught. They started bloody wars and crusades against equally wicked people, and the blood bath was horrible. They became rulers of rulers and terrified the populace. They didn’t allow the people to read the teachings of that great man, but instead taught them lies about him through fear and “fire and brimstone” sermons. They diminished his great message into something people despised and hated. Wouldn’t you with men like that representing him?
Only recently, because of the printing press, and thanks to a man named Martin Luther, did people finally stand up and say “hey, this isn’t what this man taught!” Many searched hi and low for those people who knew the truth about him and still had the authority to act in his name, as he gave to those he left charge to when he left. Unfortunately, they had all been killed off. So people gathered into their own groups supporting their own beliefs and opinions about that man, but the key element was missing. The authority to act in the name of this great man, a man they couldn’t even decide if he was the son of God or something else. Everyone had their own opinions. The key connection between heaven was still not there.
What they did have was what was left of his teachings that had been copied and handed down through the centuries by those very men who sought power. Of course many plain and precious things were conveniently missing from this library of books.
One thing they neglected to take out of this marvelous collection of books is that there is one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism. Yet the world had hundreds. The other thing they neglected to remove from these books was the statement that God was loving and that he answers an honest and heartfelt request for truth. This marvelous collection of books is called The Holy Bible, and this great man was called Jesus of Nazareth.
The one he gave authority to and left charge to was his good friends Peter, James, and John. James taught the people an important lesson about anyone who lacked knowledge or wisdom. He said go to the source. He says so eloquently in his book James, first chapter, fifth through seventh verses to simply ask God, who is a kind God that doesn’t chew you out for asking, if you ask sincerely and with faith. He will tell you.
My friends, a simple farm boy wanted so desperately to know which was the one faith to worship the one Lord and to be Baptized in the proper manner. He was confused, and he knew enough about God, through his private study of the Bible, to know God was not the author of confusion. He came across James’ helpful instructions and decided to do exactly what he said. He got his answer and in a most direct and marvelous manner.
I am so glad he did. I know now who has that authority to act in the name of God. I know Jesus is the son of God. I know his mission in this life was far greater and miraculous than any of us will ever understand in this life. I am so thankful for his birth, his simple and humble birth in a smelly manger full of hay and farm animals. He entered this life in such humble surroundings and left in such a horrible manner, but he is the son of God and dwells with him now. He overcame all, saved us all, and stands on the right hand of his father, alive and glorious. He made it possible for the unwavering justice of his father to be satisfied without robbing mercy and love. He did it out of love for us and his father, because his father asked him to.
Truly, there was no greater man on earth.
If people actually did as he asked, and live as he lived, this world would be a better place. He never forced his will on people. He asked them to follow him. He asks today and still gives you the right to choose. I choose to follow him and, to the best of my ability, live as he taught. I know if I do, and others did, the world can be a better place, at least my part of it.
So please remember, this season isn’t about trees, holidays, Santas, shopping and such. It’s a reminder about this great and humble man, who set an example for us all, and sacrificed himself to save every one of us, if we just let him. Christ isn’t his name, it’s his title. It means Savior or Messiah. He literally is Jesus the Savior, or simply Jesus Christ.