A couple weeks ago, because of the work I do in communications, I visited a public school in a marginal urban sector of a city on the coast of my country.
I had the opportunity to have a brief time of sharing with a group of little boys and girls, about 30 of them. They were all friendly and playful. Some had mischievous looks about them and others a look of total innocence. But there were a few who couldn’t hide deep anguish and their faces reflected frustration, annoyance and sadness in spite of their young age. When our work and interaction with these little ones finished, on a more informal note I decided to ask them, “What do we celebrate at Christmas?” Can you imagine their answers? Well, here are a few:
– “It’s a party time!”
– “Santa comes at Christmas!”
– “Christmas is happiness!”
– “We get gifts!”
– “It’s Santa Claus’ party!”
When I was about to give up waiting for another kind of answer, one little girl shyly raised her hand and said, “We celebrate the Baby Jesus at Christmas.”
And now as the year is almost at its end, our city is clad in lights and expensive decorations. People are out shopping, preparing big dinners, hiding gifts under the Christmas tree and telling the little ones they must be good so Santa Claus will bring them Christmas presents.
Now it’s not a bad thing to dress up for a party, to share special food with family and friends or to take part in a wholesome celebration –there’s nothing really bad about any of that. What is really sad is that during this special time of the year, “everybody gets crazy,” as I heard someone say. Traffic is terrible, stores stay open long hours and it seems they aren’t able to accommodate so many people, and social obligations pile up. It seems that all the stress of an entire year accumulates into just two days while people search for the “right gift” for each obligation.
Sadly enough, these little children only about 7 years old that I had the opportunity to meet just recently are the clear reflection of our society. For them, Christmas is a time of lights, decorations, gifts and a fantastic story that with a little luck might come true for them.
Only one in a group of thirty seemed to have a slight idea of the true meaning of Christmas. One in thirty seemed to understand that the “best gift” a person can give a loved one –or even themselves- is “Jesus,” who more than two thousand years ago came to this world as a sweet baby. Yes, Emmanuel -God with us- came with the only purpose of giving His life as a sacrifice for humankind, for those of us who have faith to believe at least three important things:
– That we are sinners. That there is not even one righteous person in this world.
– That we can do absolutely nothing for ourselves to cleanse our sin. Not even the best works can wipe away the smallest or most hidden sin we have.
– That only the precious blood of Jesus Christ poured out in sacrifice on the cross can cleanse us of all evil and all sin.
This is possible if we have faith to open our heart to Jesus, the only true God, and invite Him to be the Savior and Lord of our lives.
When the lights go out after the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and all the nonsense begins to return to normal and people have to begin to worry about the oversized debts they have acquired during this season and get back to the normal stress of daily life, there is one light that will stay on throughout the year. Just one single light that will shine in the darkness. Just one single light that will glow in the darkness of society’s stress, suffering, fear, weariness, hatred, frustration and loneliness. Just one single light… That light has been, is and will be Jesus Christ, who said of Himself,
“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)
Do you want to walk in the light in 2014? I urge you to do so, to choose to walk in the light. Choose to turn off the artificial lights of vain celebrations and trivialities and decide for Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Putting Jesus in charge of your life is the best and most important decision you can make. When you decide for Christ, His light will wash the darkness from your life and the radiance of the all-powerful God will light your path during this New Year.
May Jesus Christ, the Giver of Life and the Light of the World shine on you during 2014!
Towards Excellence recommends the following link if you want to know more about Jesus, the Light of the World: http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/