We Are Into Lent

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There are found in scripture three creation accounts. Two creation stories are found in Genesis, the third is found in the Gospel of John. John’s story is beautiful. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Now the “Word” was Jesus!) He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

As Man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone he would not. Incarnate, he could and did. Jesus was both a human being and God. What a paradox that a babe in a manger should be called “mighty”! Yet even as a baby, Jesus Christ revealed power. His birth affected the heavens as that star appeared. The star affected the Magi, and they left their homes and made that long journey to Jerusalem. Their announcement shook King Herod and his court. Jesus’ birth brought angels from heaven and simple shepherds from their flocks on the hillside. Midnight became midday as the glory of the Lord appeared to men. The Christmas story is simple and sweet.

So what was God trying to prove by sending His Son in this manner? A father and son were taking a nature hike through the woods when they came upon some ants working furiously to clear a path. The ants were scurrying here and there trying desperately to provide a clear path for ant travel. They worked individually as well as a team, but to no avail. Father and son watched a long time in silence. Finally the boy looked at his Dad and said, “I wish I could help the ants.” Father responded by telling his son that his presence would send them to hide for safety. After some more silence and some more observation the son spoke with much intent. “You know, Dad, if I could become an ant, become one of them for a short time I could help them.”

James the Fifth of Scotland on occasion would lay aside the royal robe of king and put on the simple robes of the peasant. In such a disguise, he was able to move freely about the land, making friends with ordinary folk, entering into their difficulties, appreciating their handicaps, sympathizing with them in their sorrow. When as king he sat again upon the throne, he was better able to rule over them with fatherly compassion and mercy. God shares in human experience and thereby is better able to accept man.

A young man sat in my office whose girlfriend had just told him she was pregnant. “How do I know that it is mine?” There are test that can be taken, but what does the heart say? The grounds for belief and disbelief are the same today as they were two thousand or ten thousand years ago. If Joseph had lacked faith to trust God or humility to perceive the holiness of his spouse, he could have disbelieved in the miraculous origin of her Son as easily as any modern man; and any modern man who believes in God can accept the miracle as easily as Joseph did.

He who has not Christmas in his/her heart will never find it under a tree. But it is Lent! That is the reason for the Christmas story. We only understand Easter when we appreciate Christmas.

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