Greg Laurie is the author of 12 inspirational books, which are available online.
Well, Christmas is fast approaching and the battle has already begun!
City officials in Chicago have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because they are worried that ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend some non-Christians. These bureaucrats claim that the presence of such ads would be “insensitive to people of different faiths.”
But the problem with such devotion to politically correct thinking is that by definition Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, not some generic holiday that is intended for mass consumption!
Why is it considered controversial to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas? Once again, it’s just political correctness run amok.
A friend of mine told me about his young son who prayed, “Lord, thank you for sending your only FORGOTTEN Son, Jesus.” He meant to say “begotten,” of course, but “forgotten” may be more accurate for many today!
Let’s say it was your 40th birthday, and people you knew threw a big party for the occasion. Everyone was there. There were presents in abundance and the biggest cake you’ve ever seen! They had your name strung in lights outside the house, pictures of you on the walls, and the even listened to recorded songs that repeated your name over and over again. You were so excited!
There was just one problem. Somehow, in all the commotion, they forgot to invite you!
Thinking it was just a small oversight, you decided to show up anyway, being certain that everyone would be overjoyed when you, the very “guest of honor,” arrived to join the celebration. But everyone was so preoccupied, the music was so loud, they just didn’t hear you when you knocked on the door.
Sadly, that’s a picture of Christmas for many today. We string our lights and we trim our trees. We buy our presents for those we love (and even for those whom we don’t love too much). We go to countless events and run around like crazy people. But in the midst of all of this, how much do we really think about the One this day supposedly honors?
God’s only begotten Son is treated as God’s only forgotten Son.
I heard the story of a little boy who went down to the local church and blew out all the candles while singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. The minister saw this and decided to put the fear of God in him. He went to the boy’s home and told his parents the story. They called the little boy downstairs to meet with the good reverend. Towering over him, the minister asked the boy, “Young man, where is God?” The boy’s mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there wide-eyed. So the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, “Where is God?” Terrified, he shouted: “Mommy, they lost God down at that church – and they think I took Him!”
Has it ever seemed as though you “lost God” in your life? There was a time when it seemed like He was there, and you took that for granted, but suddenly you realized He was gone. Or perhaps it took place over a period of time. But here’s something to consider: If you feel far from God, guess who moved?
The reason I bring up the subject of “losing God” is because in a very real sense we certainly can “lose Jesus” in all of our busyness, especially during this time of the year. We attend various Christmas events, shop, shop and shop, but when it’s all said and done, we find ourselves exhausted and wondering why we lost sight of God.
In Luke 2:41-52, we read about how Mary and Joseph “lost Jesus” when the family went to Jerusalem for a Passover celebration. After the festival ended and the family returned to Nazareth, Joseph thought Jesus was with Mary and vice versa – and the parental panic began (if you’ve ever lost sight of a small child in an amusement park or mall, you know)!
There are some interesting parallels for us here. Mary and Joseph had breakfast, lunch and dinner and never once saw His face! They had not lost their love for Him, nor had they lost their faith, but they had lost Him! And we, too, can lose sight of Him in our journey in life by simply forgetting about Him.
So these two understandably upset parents scolded Jesus: “Son, why have you done this to us?” (Luke 2:48) It would have been more appropriate had Mary confessed, “Son, we were wrong to forget you.” In the busyness of the holiday, with the pressures of meeting with family, dealing with the crowds and making their travel arrangements, they forgot all about Jesus.
Certainly we can do the same, perhaps even more so at Christmas! With all the rush and activity that surrounds this time of year, we must be extra careful not to treat God’s only begotten Son as God’s only forgotten Son!
Mary and Joseph, of course, realized their mistake and went back to where they lost Jesus. And where did they find Him? In the “house of God.” And that’s where we’ll find Him, too.
Maybe in a sense you too have “lost God.” You have forgotten about Him as the years have passed by.
I have good news for you. Even if you have forgotten about God, He has not forgotten about you! No, God has never left you; He has never turned away His love from you.
If you feel distant from Him, lost and alone, remember that He has not moved away or gone from view, but you have.
Where or when did you lose Jesus? Go back to where you lost sight of Him and find Him there again. God’s “only forgotten Son” is waiting for you to remember the love and joy and peace that only comes from knowing Him.