It's coming up to Christmas time, so I felt it appropriate to talk about this. Often times I get so bogged down in systematic theology, or school, or the stress of everyday life that I forget that Jesus was real. I forget that, although he was God, he actually came down, lived among us, felt all the feelings we feel, went through much of the same crap we do. In his book "The Irresistible Revolution" Shane Claiborne says, "It becomes hard to know who Jesus really is, much less to imagine that Jesus ever laughed, cried, or had a poop that smelled" (Claiborne 37). Sometimes I get so caught up in meaninglessness that I forget God really came. I base my faith on emptiness instead of fullness of God. Christians (especially Baptists [I'm a Baptist]) get sidetracked by correct order of service or denominational policy and polity, that they (we) forget that if Jesus didn't come, die, and rise again, if he isn't real, then this all means nothing!
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (NIV)
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
Paul lays it out. If things didn't happen they way we think, then this is all in vain. But I am taking it a step farther. If we don't acknowledge that these things happened, if Christ is not REAL, then this is all in vain.
About a year ago I fell away from God in the exact way I'm talking about. I got too caught up in meaninglessness and emptiness that I missed the fullness of God. My crisis of faith revolved around the fact that I could find no one, not even myself for whom God was real. I could find no one who took the red words and lived them out. I could find no one who in essence, seemed changed by what they learned through God. Now part of it was that I couldn't see the realness of Christ in others because I didn't know how to look. Eventually my wife and I started doing a daily Bible study, and I began to be confronted with the very realness I was lacking. I had to make important decisions, namely, was I going to be changed by this, or was I going to continue on in empty vanity.
Was Jesus born on December 25th, Year 0? No. But through a cataclysm of historical ironies we celebrate his coming on that day... or at least we should. I pray for you this Christmas that you discover the meaning of this holiday, that Christ is real. This really happened, if it didn't then this is all just pointless and we should avoid the headache. In this discovery I pray that you will find the fullness of God, and never be separated from it. That it might change you, for the better, and for the better, and for the better.
Ephesians 3:9 (NIV)
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Go, and be blessed and be changed by the realness and fullness of Christ. Oh, and Merry Christmas