Saturday, November 29, 2008

Away in a Manger

I love Christmas. I can hardly wait to get through Thanksgiving to bust out my tree and wreaths and collection of Christmas music. I actually started listening to the Christmas music in the car about a week ago, a crime I think went unnoticed this year but usually gets me much ridicule from my husband who is NOT a fan of holiday tunes. He's a Scrooge.

I was singing along in my car yesterday to "Away in a Manger" when I remembered a shirt my friend Elizabeth wore last Christmas that made me smile. It said "THE way in a manger" and had a picture of baby Jesus. I love it because it's so Elizabeth and so true.

I've written before about John 14:6. Jesus makes it perfectly clear here that He is THE way. There are no detours or back roads. He's it--take it or leave it. It's in black and white in 1 John 5:12 too: "He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." Jesus is the only one who bore our sins and restored us to a full relationship with God. Period.

I have friends and family who do not believe in God. I wonder sometimes if this is one of the fundamental beliefs that turns them off of Christianity. It can be hard to grasp that there is only one way. We live in a society of choices: everything from the clothes we wear to the sides we get in our Happy Meal. We want to know all our options. Don't tell ME I have to have fries with my cheeseburger--I want apples! We like to call the shots. When I was in high school my youth group made my minister go gray with our constant argument that Buddhists, if they behaved themselves, could get a sort of divine pardon and a free ticket into Heaven. Looking back, I see the naivete of this. We wanted it to be so because we are products of our society that values political correctness over all else. Jesus wasn't very politically correct. I've spent some time with my Bible since my high school days. I have poured over it and just can't find a passage that supports random forgiveness. It's free--that much is true--but you have to claim it. So, those who choose not to believe in Jesus obviously do not request forgiveness and, therefore, cannot be granted it. It's simple, really. But it's hard to swallow.

THE way in a manger, indeed.

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