It has been four months since we began this journey to and through seminary together. Thank you to those who have read, commented, encouraged and helped me along the way. There is one resounding question in my mind that continually drives me to my knees, keeps my wife understanding and gives me hope in my studies. Why? Why am I here? Why did we move to Dallas? Why did we leave behind career paths, friends, family, opportunities and comfort that God had blessed us with? The answer is Jesus. And there is no greater question or answer to reflect upon this week.
I am writing this prior to finals in hopes to have it submitted early, but it should appear six days before the day we have designated to celebrate the birth of our Messiah. Jesus did not have a Christmas tree, gifts, red wrapping paper, a stocking over the fireplace or snow on the ground when he was born. All these things have been used by our culture to symbolize this time of year. As long as we continue to see this holiday as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, His coming to humanity in its state of sin to bring us freedom, to bring us salvation, to bring us to Himself, then I think any item that drives us to remember what Jesus has done, can be good, whether it is red wrapping paper, a Christmas tree or lights displayed on trees, homes and stores.
I hope that as you study theology, Greek, Bible study methods, and read through those big books the seminary required you to buy, you will remember that it truly does all come back to a child, laid in a manager, 2,000 years ago. I love the Old Testament because it points me to Jesus. I love the New Testament, because it points me to Jesus. In all of our intellectual pursuits, whether seminary, a Bible study, a meeting with a mentor or a personal pursuit of holiness, we must remember to ‘fix our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and perfector of our faith’ “ Hebrews 12:1-2.
I hope this semester has been a blessing for you as much as it has been for me. Whether you are making copies and pizza, realizing the Honeymoon is over, finding out that God’s ways are not the same as yours, or just surfing the web for new blogs, I hope you remember Jesus. I hope you ask yourself, ‘Why?’ Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you where you are? Why are you doing the things you are doing and making the choices you are making? Are you pursuing Jesus in those choices, or a Master’s Degree to hang on the wall?
The temptation is always there for me to think of that degree. The temptation is there to think of a DTS class ring, walking across that stage at graduation, and having another, ‘I accomplished something’ moment. As I have read through John 15, Colossians 3 and Ephesians 1 recently, I have come to realize that I truly can do and have ‘nothing’ apart from Christ.
At least for now I have a built in way to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and be reminded of what He has done for me daily. As long as there is snow on the ground, stockings over the fireplace, red wrapping paper and a tree in the corner of a home, we are reminded and made consciously aware that Jesus came, gave His life and rose from the dead 2,000 years ago to set us free today. Merry Christmas. I hope the subtle differences you see throughout your day this time of year remind you of the first Christmas and drives you to long for the only one that will top it “ our first Christmas in eternity when we spend it with Jesus in Heaven.