How would you celebrate if you knew this would be your final Christmas on Earth? Would your fond traditions from the past be enough or would you honor the birth of Christ in a new way, perhaps a more meaningful way? How would you do it differently if you were certain you would never do Christmas again?
I only raise this question because the signs of the times are unsettling, eerily prophetic. Here’s how Jesus describes the days leading up to his return to the planet: “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21: 25 – 27)
Whenever prophets allude to ominous signs in the heavens, they are generally forecasting chaos on the Earth- political, military and natural cataclysms that leave the world order in tatters. If you’ve been paying attention lately you may have noticed some of the earth’s leading political powers are suddenly paralyzed, declining, or verging on financial collapse. The only political force having their way in the world right now call themselves Isis: they are well-funded, tech savvy, and growing globally. Their legions are bringing back the slaughter of children and crucifixion! For the first time in history, Revelation’s forecast of tragic events witnessed simultaneously by everyone on earth is not only possible but already fulfilled on a daily basis. Everywhere people are faint with fear and foreboding.
With that in mind, how would you want to mark your last Christmas before leaving for Heaven? Would you complain about the burden of shopping, the curse of the crowds, and the cloying Christmas ballads recycled 24/7 by every radio station on the dial? Or would you sing more joyfully, meet human needs all around you, care for the brokenhearted, and look for opportunities to talk about Christ more and decorations less? Would you do anything different on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Would you talk about things you have never talked about as a family? Would you make peace with relatives who have brought out the worst in you for years? You’d surely want this Christmas to be more intentional, truly one of a kind, but what would you change to make that happen?
God invented the incarnation of Christ, but people invented Christmas. I doubt we’ll ever sing carols around a lighted tree in Heaven: Jesus was born here, but was always there. If the Lord comes back in 2015, you and I will never celebrate Christmas again. And when we do celebrate celestial holidays in heaven, there will be some familiar faces from the Earth who will be missing- unless something changes.
Smart people not only recognize the signs of the sky, but the signs of the times as well. (Somebody we trust said that.) And the times they are a changing- going south fast. Even if Jesus doesn’t come back next year, he’s still watching this year; and he probably thinks some of my Christmas traditions are lame. I can do better and I will this year. So Merry Christmas and Maranatha: come again, Lord Jesus!
LIft up the Cross!