The Christmas decorating is done, the gifts are purchased, the holiday menus planned and the grocery shopping completed. Seven pairs of pajamas are all sewn, ready and waiting for wiggling little bodies to don them (I carry on my grandmother’s tradition of making pajamas for my grandchildren every Christmas). I haven’t accomplished this much so early in the season in years! Now I can sit back and wait… Or not.
I love the spirit of Advent–this season of waiting, of preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus as we celebrate his first coming and expectantly await his second. But there have been too many years when I have been crazy-busy with all the shopping, decorating, sewing, baking…all the memory-making stuff of family life. Add to that the heightened activity for church staff at this time of year, and it’s easy to find myself sadly wondering on December 26th just how I missed Christ in all that Christmas!
But not this year. This year I have time to ponder the significance of Immanuel–God-with-us. I have time to reflect on Christ’s promise to come again, when he will make all things new! And the question that keeps popping into my mind is this, What difference does it make? What difference does it make that I know Jesus was born into our human condition, and that he suffered and died to atone for our sins? (Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, I might add!) What difference does it make that I receive his promise to return, to establish a new world, a new order of life that is eternal? What difference does knowing all this make in my life today?
Many think that eternal life is something you get when you die. New life, a different kind of life, starts at conversion and never ends. -Bishop Todd Hunter
It’s easy to live for today, perpetually seeking self-gratification, when I think that the only life that counts is the one that begins after my bodily death. But I believe that my eternal life began the day I received Christ as my Lord and Savior, and that changes everything. It means that how I live today has significance for the rest of my eternal life. My life today is supposed to be different from the life I lived before my conversion, and the choices I make today impact all my tomorrows…an eternity of tomorrows!
Jesus came to save the lost. He came to save me, and would have done so if I was the only person alive. But I’m not. There’s a whole world that Jesus wants to reconcile to the Father, and he bids me to help, to do what I can in my little corner. He didn’t save me just so that I could sit around and wait for him to come back. He saved me so that I can make a difference.
Now that I think about it, the real question is What difference do I make?
That’s a question worth asking every day!