we possess the only light that will never go out.
- Jim Shempert
This year, my walk with God has been about seeing Him in the small moments. It is far too easy to become overwhelmed by social, political, and financial matters of the day. The aim of the world is to distract from the things of God. I have made it my goal in my walk with Christ to see Him in as many places that I can. Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I had another of those light bulb moments.
My father-in-law sent me a text as I was getting ready to wrap things up at the office. It was a picture of a large pine tree that was taken down during a storm the night before. The message was a simple, “I need your help.” My in-laws have always treated me like I was one of theirs since my wife and I have been dating, so I immediately said I would be there.
After breakfast at a favorite diner of his, we headed off with work gloves and a chainsaw. Cutting wood has always been fun to me. Sure, it’s work, but fun work. It brings me closer to what God envisioned a man to be in Genesis 3:19.
Not sure how it is in your part of the country, but this year, we have had a plague of ladybugs. They are everywhere. Naturally, when we brought that Stihl saw to bear on the tree, they came pouring out. I wish I would have taken a picture because my father-in-law and I were covered with them. At times, it was like a snowstorm of ladybugs. It seemed the more we cut, the more that came out of the old tree. They had apparently set up residence there for quite a while before the tree gave up and fell. They were none too happy that we were sawing through their living rooms.
The Christian life is full of seasons. Some high on the mountain, some low in the valley. That’s why they call it a “walk with Christ” rather than a sit down in the recliner with Him. Forgiveness is one area that I struggle greatly with in that walk, especially when it comes to my own sin. It’s easy to get self-righteous and at times I think, “How can you even call yourself a Christian?”
When all the Christian world begins to look towards Christmas, to the remembrance of the birth of our Savior, I find myself falling into a trap of Satan: guilt over sin already forgiven.
I don’t engage in the “big” sins, but then, God doesn’t see sin as big or little. My sins are far more numerous than the swarm of ladybugs that engulfed my father-in-law and me. I have been and am guilty of pride, boastfulness, anger, unforgiveness, gluttony, harshness, slander, idolatry, and a host of other sins. Even thinking that I don’t engage in the “big” sins is in itself a sin.
Without the original Christmas season, where angels appeared to humble shepherds to announce the coming of One who would save all those who would come to Him, my sins would cover me far worse than those ladybugs did. I am awash in my sin. Covered. Saturated. Engulfed.
God knew that about me. He knew that I would be incapable of holiness. The one thing that will never change, no matter how dark the world gets, is that He loved me enough to sacrifice His best for me. He describes the problem of our relationship thusly: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isaiah 1:18).”
As we enter this Christmas season, with all its blockbuster deals and decorations, I think it more necessary now than ever to remember why we celebrate Christmas. For the Christian, this world grows dim. Yet, we possess the only light that will never go out. We are followers of the One who said He would never leave or forsake us. We are followers of the One who chose to die for us. We are followers of the One who took all our sins; the ones we admit to and the ones we don’t; upon Himself so that we may be reconciled to Him.
We are followers of the One myriads of angels proclaimed by when they said: “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).”
Though my sins were many, His blood availed for me and for you. If that’s not something to be merry about, then I don’t know what is.