It's Christmas night.
The midnight hour has chimed and I should be asleep, but I'm awake. I'm kept awake by one stunning thought. The world was different this week. It was temporarily transformed.
The magical dust of Christmas glittered on the cheeks of humanity ever so briefly, reminding us of what is worth having and what we were intended to be. We forgot our compulsion with winning, wooing, and warring. We put away our ladders and ledgers, we hung up our stopwatches and weapons. We stepped off our racetracks and roller coasters and looked outward toward the star of Bethlehem.
More than at any other time, we think of him. More than in any other season, his name is on our lips. And the result? For a few precious hours our heavenly yearnings intermesh and we become a chorus. A ragtag chorus of longshoremen, Boston lawyers, illegal immigrants, housewives, and a thousand other peculiar persons who are banking that Bethlehem's mystery is in reality, a reality.
For a few precious hours, he is beheld. Christ the Lord. Those who pass the year without seeing him, suddenly see him. Emmanuel. God is with us: He came near.
Soon life will be normal again. But for the moment, I want to savor the spirit just a bit more. I want to pray that those who beheld him today will look for him when the gifts are history and carols are quiet. And I can't help but linger on one fanciful thought: If he can do so much with such timid prayers lamely offered in December, how much more could he do if we thought of him every day?
For after all, the One who came that Christmas morning so long ago still comes. He comes every time a seeker turns his face heavenward and says "Yes " to the Savior. A Savior sent by a God who "so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life"(John 3:16).
Because God loves you, he has invited you to enjoy eternal life with him in Heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Jesus made a way to accept God's invitation, and he did it just for you. Confess that you've sinned: "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Accept God's invitation by believing that Jesus received the punishment for your sin by his death on the cross. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God"
(1 Peter 3:18). You can pray something like this:
"Dear God, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. Thank you for sending Jesus to this earth so he could suffer the punishment I deserved for my sin. I do believe that he died in my place so I can have eternal life. Please come into my life and help me live a life that pleases you. Amen."