- 2 Corinthians 5:17
When the Baby Jesus was born in the manger those many years ago, the world he was entering was one of much pain and suffering. The haves had little compassion for the have nots, the Temple was run more like a business than a religious center with the High Priests and their staff living in high style while those nearby often wondered if they would be able to find their next meal. And, of course, the Romans, the dreaded Romans, were ruling Judea and the surrounding lands with an iron fist. And through this all, hope was a missing ingredient, for it seemed as if the future would offer must more and more of the same forever.
The birth of Jesus, however, was the opening chapter in a thirty-three year life that would end with Jesus, both mortal man and eternal God, dying a horrific death on the Cross in accordance with His Father's wishes. And at the moment of His death, all of mankind, Jew and Gentile alike, was afforded the opportunity to everlasting life through faith in this unassuming carpenter who carried the weight of the world on His shoulders that terrible day. And the world would never be the same as his brave Apostles and others joined in an astounding effort to spread the Good News of salvation throughout the world. This incredible effort continues unabated to this day.
Now this doesn't mean that by accepting His offer of salvation through faith and belief that sin would disappear and pain and suffering would be ended. Quite the contrary, for Jesus taught his Disciples before His death that they, and generations of believers to follow, would suffer for their belief and would be tested on its strength. But in the end, if they held their ground and maintained their faith in Him they would never die. Instead they would inherit the eternal kingdom of heaven above with God and His Son with the help of the Spirit, sent to earth after the crucifixion to serve as our guidance counselor from the Savior seated in heaven above.
Sin still rules the world today. But the good news is that millions of faithful Christians continue the mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they are gaining followers daily from all over the world, including some of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. And this strength and growth is only made possible by the grace of Jesus, who came to show us the Way, the Truth and the Life and has offered us freedom from sin through his grace.
That, my friends, is what started on that cold night in a manger so many years ago and it has changed the world forever. Oh, the dictators will continue to purge and destroy the faith that is so fearful to them, but no matter what they do the love of Jesus Christ will outlast them. Good ultimately triumphs over evil in the long run, and in the case of Jesus Christ, his offer of eternity to each of us is a most powerful incentive, greater than all the money or other riches that man can amass. And it is truly sad how we still don't realize today that you "can't take it with you".
Be of good cheer, Christians, for as we commemorate the entry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, into world history as a little baby boy, we also anticipate His triumphant return as ruler of all the earth and the banishment evil represented by the fallen angel, satan, forever. And the celebration of Christmas that is now upon us is just the beginning of the story. God be with you, each and every one.