Don’t you love getting invitations to parties from people who genuinely want you to come? You don’t really care what the food’s like and it don’t matter where it’s at – a campfire is as good as the Ritz. What’s important is the quality of friendship, the sharing of stories, the laughter, the warmth and the acceptance. A good time for me is being with warm friendly people who love me as much as I love them.
Christmas is often the time you get the odd invitation. Makes sense really because Christmas is an invitation in itself. Actually, I like to think that whole of life is a multi-media invitation, from God. Look at the resilient beauty and wonder of nature and the universe around you – the good things in this world, like the joy of Christmas – that’s God giving you a foretaste of Heaven. That’s what you’ll get if you accept his invitation. Look at the evil and ugliness, resulting from our greed and stupidity, that’s God giving you a foretaste of what happens if you don’t.
You understand this better than you realise. When you feel bad about the way this world is, it’s not because you’ve ever experienced a better one, but because deep down you know there aught to be one, somewhere. You yearn for justice, peace, security, meaning, prosperity, love and eternal life, not because you have ever been to a place where these things really exist, but because God has planted a desire for them in your heart.
God’s answer to global warming, war, crime, sickness, famine and death is not the United Nations, Kyoto, more police or the World Bank; but a fully transformed universe full of fully transformed people- people who know how to behave in a world that can do what is right. He’s designed you in such a way as to ensure you’ll never be really happy with anything less.
Deep down we yearn to escape from the tyrannical rule of man that has spoilt this world, to return to God who loves us and knows how to govern us properly. We all want to escape the human treadmill. That’s why Jesus said; “Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.
The good news is that God never gives you yearnings he’s not prepared to satisfy. That’s why he sent his Son Jesus into the world. Jesus proved that God is not only a very powerful and intelligent creator, but also a truly wonderful person. Jesus lived a life of obedience to his Father – in fact he lived the life you were meant to live, then died the death you deserved to die. He did that to take the blame and punishment for your rebellion against God. God did this to reconcile himself to you so you could be with him in his new universe, with his people forever.
Jesus’ death and resurrection is God’s proof that he really wants you there! He is the most costly invitation of all. God will be most disappointed if you say you can’t make it!
If this has raised some questions in your mind and you have the courage to pursue them, talk to God. Apologise for ignoring him in the past and tell him you would like to accept his invitation. Then you might also want to get to know some of the people you’ll be spending eternity with. Try one of our churches here in Camden.
In the meantime, I hope you get some other nice invitations this Christmas.
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