Wednesday, December 20, 2017
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The Christmas tree has always been a big deal at our house. The boys go on our annual pilgrimage to pick it out. Then we have the annual decorating ceremony, and we're pretty good at it if I do say so myself. The lights, the beautiful decorations you accumulated over the years, the bright star on the top. Our Christmas tree is the center of our family life all during the Christmas season, and then comes January. Yeah, I hate to mention it now, but the decorations come off and the tree comes down. After which, I unceremoniously carry it to the curb for the garbage man to dispose of. The ugly secret is painfully obvious that day. Even though that tree has been glowing with decorations, it was dead all along!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Decorated, But Dead."
Tragically, there are a lot of people whose spiritual condition might be described as "Christmas Tree Syndrome." They're decorated, but they're dead-spiritually, that is. The Bible makes it disturbingly clear that you can be decorated with all kinds of Christian decorations and look very much alive spiritually, but still be what the Bible describes as spiritually dead.
One of the most unsettling scenes in the story of the first Christmas, our word for today from the Word of God, provides an example of this. It's especially unsettling for those of us who consider ourselves religious. When the three wise men told King Herod about the baby they were seeking, Matthew 2:4 says, "He called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, and he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 'In Bethlehem in Judea,' they replied, for this is what the prophet has written: 'But you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah...out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.'"
And that's all it says about them. Apparently, they knew all the facts about Christ, they quoted the verses but they didn't do anything about it! These men were the religious leaders in their area. They knew all the verses about Christ coming. They looked like they were spiritually alive, they talked like they were spiritually alive, everybody thought they were spiritually alive, but apparently they made no move to meet Jesus.
If they could miss Jesus, so can we. See, it's easy to be around Jesus a lot, to know a lot about Jesus, but mistake that for actually knowing Jesus. We have the look of someone who belongs to Him, we sound like someone who belongs to Him, but we've never actually experienced Him for ourselves. Maybe when you hear a speaker talk about making Christ your personal Savior, you inwardly say, "Oh, been there, done that." But "been there, know that" is very different from "been there, done that."
Now, as we celebrate Jesus' coming again this Christmas, wouldn't this be a wonderful time to finally really let Him come into your heart? You know you cannot have a relationship with God, you can't get to heaven until all the sins of your life have been erased from God's book, they've been forgiven. Jesus died to pay that price so you could be forgiven, but you've got to take Him for yourself by an act of conscious total commitment to Him.
Could it be that you've never really begun your own personal relationship with Jesus? If so, this would be a wonderful time to get that settled, wouldn't it? Today as we celebrate His coming, you can celebrate His coming into your heart finally and into your life. Tell Him you're putting your trust totally in Him to be your own Savior, and you're beginning that relationship this very day.
I want to invite you to go to our website, ANewStory.com, because I've literally set it up to help you be sure that you belong to Him. This is the day to get it done, to get it right; to know for sure that Jesus is in you heart and you're going to be with Him forever.
What a Christmas this could be. This will be your first Christmas with Christ in your heart!