I’ve started thinking about the saying “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and it just doesn't seem like an appropriate description of Jesus or Christmas anymore. I think it makes Jesus seem small and seasonal. And in my heart, Jesus is just so much more than a reason for a season. For me, He is just the reason…the reason for, well, everything.
Several weeks ago I streamed a sermon when a pastor challenged his church to learn whom Jesus was without using the Bible. The pastor explained that if someone doesn’t believe in Jesus, it is highly improbable he/she believes the Bible so using the Bible to explain Jesus is an act of futility. And as I listened to this pastor use non-biblical references to provide evidence that Jesus was born, died and then lived again, I started to think about who Jesus is to me on a personal level rather than according to the Bible. So I asked myself “Who is Jesus to me?”. And in fact, Jesus actually asked his disciplines the same question:
Matthew 16: 13-15
When Jesus came to region of Caesarea Phillipi, he asked his disclipes, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?”
I accepted my salvation through Jesus at a very young age and grew up being taught about Jesus. And although I’m grateful for my upbringing, I think every adult has to explore their faith and determine who and what they believe independent of their parents and upbringing. Honestly, I didn’t explore my faith until I came across people in my life that didn't believe in Jesus. There is truth to the statement “faith like a child” because believing in Jesus is easy when your parents tell you what to believe and life is relatively simple. As a child grows and is exposed to "life" a.k.a. pain, loss, troubled times, adversity, etc., faith becomes much more challenging. As an adult, I had to dig deep to figure out what it was I believed (as opposed to what my parents believed) and why I believed it. And after digging, studying and reflecting, Jesus remained at the center of my faith. And as life gets tougher and I experience more adversity, I find my faith only growing stronger. And I find myself wondering how people make it without faith in Jesus.
Jesus is my hope. He is the reason I get through every single day despite the circumstances around me. When I look back on my life (so far), it is like looking at a puzzle. I see individual moments, like puzzle pieces, that made no sense when I experienced them but become perfectly clear and beautiful when I reflect back on them. I see a beautiful story unfolding that would be simply impossible if left only to chance. The only explanation for the story of my life is Jesus. I don’t need a Bible or a history book to explain who Jesus is because I feel comfort, guilt, grace, love and joy directly from Him. And I know that no matter what happens this side of Heaven, I always have my hope in Him.
He is the reason why when I experience loss or pain or suffering, I ask Him to use it for good. I ask Him to use it to bless others. Because I’ve learned we have only one hope in this world and that is Jesus. And if you allow him to use all the positive and negative experiences in your life…if you allow Him to use the gut-wrenching pain we experience in this world, He will do amazing things to only grow and strengthen your faith. And you will find not only hope but comfort. As long as your hope is in Him, there is nothing that will steal you from the shelter and refuge of Him, King Jesus. And after the road comes to an end, you will be in His Glory. And if the comfort and love I’ve felt from Jesus, is just a glimpse of what His Glory will be like, that I can’t wait to see Him face-to-face.
So although Jesus is the reason for the season to many people, to me He is just my reason. And I can't think of a better reason to celebrate not only at Christmas but every single day.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Hope, joy and a very Merry Christmas,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.