In A Nutshell | December 18, 2020

What if He Didn’t Come?

As a person of Irish descent, I am proficient in at least two areas: worry and pouting. While I plan to address both flaws in the coming year (as I do every year, with little or no success), I realize that it will be difficult to exorcise either because they are so deeply engrained in my ancestral DNA.

When I was young, these two shortcomings were particularly noticeable during the Christmas Holidays — worry about whether Santa would come and bring everything I asked for, and pouting when I didn’t get everything I asked for, or what I got didn’t work the way I thought it would. I know, spoiled kid, right?

Over the years, I have been able to distance myself from these weaknesses, but I still suffer from the lingering effects, although now many of my doubts are articulated in a way that is hypothetical.

For example, I sometimes ask myself, “What if Jesus didn’t come?” What if God the Father, instead of showing grace and mercy, responded with justifiable anger and malice, thus condemning all of us to an eternity of damnation?

Fortunately, He didn’t do that. Despite our disobedience — or more accurately, because of it — He sent His only begotten Son to take the burden of all of our sins on His shoulders during the crucifixion and then bury them forever a few days later with His miraculous resurrection, which conquered both sin and death.

Every once in a while — at least twice a year (once at Christmas and again at Easter) — we pause to reflect on the magnitude of this benevolent sacrifice, and wonder how any of it was possible, or why He would even bother to save a planet full of wretches like us.

Then we read the famous passage from John 3:16, which states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

No more angst, no more worry, and certainly no more pouting, but it’s important we not stop there. Rather, we should continue to process the verses that follow: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

So this is the verdict for us: “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

This might be a good time to assess where we stand. If we live by the truth and come into the light, we have no reason for worry. Fortunately, we don’t have to ask, “What if He didn’t come?” We know that He did, and that He will come again.

Now that we have seen the light, it is essential that we guide others to the light, and what better time of year to do this right now, during Christmas, which is, in and of itself, a festival of lights.

So let us all prepare for a night that is both silent and holy — a night in which the Son of God becomes love’s pure light. “Radiant beams from Thy holy face. With the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.”

Until we meet again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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