December 6, 2008

Advent Basket Day 6

Once upon a time ... Who doesn't love a great story?! Some tell us about familiar things and some are from long ago and far away. Some stories are told as truth, some are believed only by children. Stories appeal to our imagination. They lift us out of the day-to-day and take us to a different, more fantastic place.

I just posted about the value of story, like the St Nicholas story. Jesus' birth sounds like many popular stories. We read of singing mice, fairy godmothers, talking animals; and we read about singing angels, wise men guided by stars, a birth in a stable ... God becoming human. We read of charming princes, pumpkins becoming carriages; and of a virgin birth, fulfilled prophecy, a humble child who grew up and healed the blind and sick.

Bag 6 of my Advent Basket has a bell in it. The paper says, "This makes noise. Read Mark 7:31-37. This man could not hear this until he met Jesus."

This is one of those fantastical and miraculous stories: Jesus put his fingers in a deaf man's ears and some spit on his tongue. He looked up in the sky and said, "Ephphatha!" And it happened. The man's hearing was clear and his speech plain - just like that.

Jesus' story is different. His story offers unmerited grace, not what we deserve. Because of His love, we get way more than we deserve. Jesus is real and it matters what we do with Jesus. There's very little at stake if we don't believe in Santa or Cinderella. What if we don't believe in Jesus' claims and accept the whole story of Jesus - His birth, death, and resurrection. Jesus said, "I am come that you might have life and have it in abundance."

Once upon a time ... Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Those who believe in Him ... will live happily ever after. Everyone loves a good story. But this is a story like no other.

Santa lives at the North Pole - Jesus is everywhere.
Santa comes but once a year - Jesus is an ever present help.
Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap - Jesus lets you rest in His arms.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly -
Jesus has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is goodies and "Ho, ho, ho" -
Jesus meets our needs, offering healing, help, and hope.
Santa says, "You better not cry" -
Jesus says, "Cast all your cares on Me for I care for you."
Santa's little helpers make toys -
Jesus makes new life, mends wounded hearts ...
Santa may make you chuckle - Jesus gives joy.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree -
Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.
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