By Rev. David Scudder
It happens every year. There is a giant buildup to the Christmas celebration. (Much of it comes from retail stores.) Then, before you know it, Christmas is over, and we are left with messes around the house to clean up. Then later the bills come due. Ugh!
The gift-giving is now over; the decorations will soon disappear (if they haven’t already); and families have made their way back to their own homes. That can lead to a real feeling of emptiness. What do we have left to look forward to now?
This is not a new problem.
Imagine what it must have been like when that first Christmas event was over. It wasn’t long before the song of the angels faded away; the star in the sky disappeared; the wise men left for home; the shepherds went back to taking care of their sheep; and the baby was moved so the cattle feeding trough (or manger) was left empty. For them, as it is for us, life returned to its familiar–and often dull–routine.
It’s nice to have special events like birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to look forward to. The end of the Christmas celebration got me to thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to have something exciting to look forward to during the rest of the year? Thankfully, there is!
Jesus offers an exciting hope that is good all year round. That may sound too good to be true, but I assure you, that it is true. Look closely at this two-fold offer from Jesus: “… I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
I assume that everybody would love to have an abundant life. Did you notice, though, that Jesus made it clear that having life in Him must come first? The only way we can experience that abundant life is to follow Jesus and take the life that He offers. Abundant living is only for those who have accepted the sacrifice Jesus provided for us on the Cross.
Why is life, real life that can satisfy us continually, only found in Christ? It’s because when God made us, He made us with a purpose. That purpose is to love and worship Him. That is why the Apostle John heard these words in his vision of heaven: “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
Earlier, God Himself explained why He created us: “Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made” (Isaiah 43:7).
That makes sense when you think about it. There is abundant life in Christ because we were created to love and serve Him. Our greatest joy comes in doing what we were made to do.
When we discover our true purpose for living, God turns on a beautiful light in our hearts. That’s why Jesus said: “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).
How do we get this abundant life that lasts all year long? Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).
Lasting meaning in life comes when we turn from our sin and humbly trust in Christ. The Apostle John wrote his biography about Jesus “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
Christmas 2018 may be behind us. It may seem to you that the celebration didn’t last long. If you follow Jesus, though, abundant life in Christ can be ahead of you, and that abundance lasts forever. As a follower of Jesus, I have found that it gets better every year!.
Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters in the Greek language. We can think of it as A to Z.
Alpha, Omega—our God we proclaim,
Eternal, unchanging, always the same;
He’s the beginning and He is the end,
He is our Savior, our Lord, and our Friend.
Rev. David Scudder can be emailed at DaveBethel@gmail.com. Bethel Chapel Church is located at the corner of K and Lycoming Streets in Juniata Park.