I rush to pick up the phone and then there’s the pause from the other end of the line. I’m then invited to receive help with my Microsoft computer. I need to open it up which is fine except that I don’t own a Microsoft computer and haven’t since 2010. When I tell them this, the line goes dead, leaving me to conclude that this wasn’t a Microsoft employee with the wrong number.
Sometimes the message comes from a faulty source.
Have you ever had to explain how Santa Claus and Christmas are related to each other? Recently I had the opportunity to explain the message of Christmas to someone from a distant culture who has come to live in England. Doing this involves unpicking the cradle and the tree, the shepherds and the seasonal songs, the wise men and the sales. For a long time Christmas has not been purely about Christ.
Sometimes the message can be confused.
What of the message we hear this Christmas? What does it say of itself?
John’s clear message to the rest of history is that his friend Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is the message from God the Father and Jesus has been with the Father since the beginning. In fact, He is One with the Father.
John wants us to know that Jesus is neither a message from a faulty source, nor a message confused along the way.
This view has been challenged by scientific endeavour, philosophical argument and critique of the reliability of the Bible. None of these challenges have stopped the spread of the message of Jesus across the world. Through the ages the message, otherwise known as the gospel, has primarily been relayed and received through the story of Jesus being told and lived through His people.
The church are the people who allow Jesus to live in them, the ones who have prayed and still pray ‘be born in us again today’. It is to be in as if ‘He were making His appeal through us’. 2 Corinthians 5:20.
If you know that you’re not a Christian or you’ve persuaded yourself that you’re hedging your bets, I invite you to examine the life of the Christians around you. What do you see in them? Do they sound like the fake Microsoft call - a message from faulty source? Or do they sound like Christmas in our culture - a confused message that’s really hard to decipher? Or does their life sound like an echo of Jesus?
If you think of yourself as a Christian, then amidst the celebrations of Christmas remember the good news that God has been born your Saviour in the stable and that He wants to make His appeal to the world though you. Your task is simple: remember the message, live it and pass it on.