Monday, December 16, 2019

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

How do you feel when your favorite entertainer wins an award, like an Emmy or Grammy? Or when your favorite team or a star athlete you admire wins an honor – like a National Championship or Heisman Trophy?

Even if we’ve never met that person or players, and probably never will, we thrill to watch them being honored and swell with a vicarious sense of pride in their accomplishments. We even speak of our teams’ successes in terms of “we.”

This time of year, Nativity
scenes are everywhere.
I feel kind of like that at Christmas, only much more so. Amidst – and perhaps, despite – all the holiday glitz, the sappy and Santa movies, focus on gifts and gift giving and other holiday revelry, Jesus Christ sometimes gets the credit for this time of year that He so absolutely deserves.

Recently I watched one of those annual celebrity Christmas specials, the kind where people you’ve heard of – and some you haven’t – show up and belt out happy holidays tunes. At least sort of; not all singers are created equal. For most of the show, “Frosty the Snowman” was as spiritual as the Christmas selections got. But then a country music artist, wouldn’t you know it, got up and sang “The First Noel.” Acapella, no less. Hooray, Jesus! Warmed the cockles of my still busily beating heart.

And even better than sharing the joys of favored celebrities and athletes we only know from afar, people we truly don’t know at all – just know about – we can truly KNOW the Jesus of Christmas.

Not long before the events leading up to His mock trial and crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way and the truth and he life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6-7).

Later in the Scriptures, we read the apostle John's assurance for followers of Christ, “I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the father…. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you…” (1 John 2:13-14).

This is where we get the phrase, “personal relationship with Jesus.” The term can’t be found in the Scriptures, but it’s affirmed that we can know Jesus just as well – perhaps even better – than we know a spouse, child or family member, or best friend. When the birth of the Christ Child is celebrated, whether in a sanctuary, a TV special, on a billboard or a Christmas card, we can rightfully rejoice inwardly. Because that’s our Savior, our Lord, our King!

It's been said so often that it’s become a cliché, but indeed, Jesus truly is “the reason for the season.” And as His followers, it’s our awesome privilege to be a part of it as members of God’s divine and eternal family. As my friend Gib used to say before God called him home last year before Christmas, “That’s my Jesus!”

Best of all, as we’re told, the knowing is going to get even better: "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).

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