December 3, 2009

God With Us

2009 1534 page7 capHE GREAT TRAGEDY OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON IS NOT THAT some children will not get any presents or that some individuals will have to sleep on city streets under piles of filthy blankets. It’s not that countless individuals will wake up to gifts stacked high under a beautifully decorated tree but with an indefinable emptiness in their lives where once lived love, happiness, and companionship.

The great tragedy of the Christmas season is that it doesn’t last any longer than it takes to take down the tree and put away the ornaments.
From Thanksgiving to Christmas our “generosity index” is in overdrive. We give money to this charity and that ministry; we carve out extra time to visit the elderly and serve meals to the homeless. But what happens after that?
The glorious truth of the gospel is that long after the Wise Men brought their gifts and presented them to the Child-King, long after the shepherds had gone back to keeping their sheep, Jesus was still the Son of man; still God in human flesh.
If there’s a lesson we should learn during this season of lights, music, food, and family, it’s that loneliness, poverty, hopelessness, and lack of opportunities last all year long.
Jesus came to bring light to a planet in darkness; not just when angel choirs filled the sky, but throughout His experience as He traveled from village to field to city healing the sick, telling stories about the kingdom, lifting up the oppressed, and declaring an end to Satan’s oppression.
Our responsibility as disciples of Emmanuel, God with us, is to carry the standard of generous, selfless living long after the decorations have been put away.

Stephen Chavez is managing editor of the Adventist Review. This article was printed December 10, 2009.