"And He will reign over Israel forever. His Kingdom will never end." Luke 1:33....."Jesus answered, 'Before Abraham was, I Am." John 8:58
A few days ago I watched one of the many adaptions of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." I expect you have at least a passing knowledge of the story. The elderly miser Ebenezer Scrooge has three visitors on Christmas Eve, sent to turn him from his ruinous ways. They are the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. It's a good story with a happy ending, and afterwards, I sensed the Lord speaking to me through my ponderings. Like Ebenezer, I, especially as I grow older, have been visited by three kinds of "ghosts" and at various times. Likely you have too. For me, they're the ghosts of what has been, what might have been, and what is.
Recently I received news of what has happened in the life of one who once held a most cherished place in my heart. They're suffering from an affliction that will not only deeply affect them and those around them, but will only worsen as time goes on. I felt and feel a great sadness in my heart. And with that sadness come questions brought to me by those three visitors mentioned above. I remembered what had been with that one, both the beauty and the heartache. Memories that bring about a wide swath of feeling and emotion. What has been cannot be undone....Along with this visitation I am brought to think about what could have been. I long ago was freed from living in the "what if's" of life. Yet even so, I find myself thinking on what might have been had this one not chosen a path in direct opposition to what the Father had spoken. Would this present state had come about for them? What might have been their life as well as mine and all the others affected by their decisions, if they had chosen the path He'd placed before them? Rather than the one they thought better? In any event, what might have been will never be. None of us can live there, though we're often haunted by it. We can only live in the place of what is....and how we view "what is" makes all the difference.
The fatalistic view of the world is that we have to accept what is and make the best of it. This is the hand we're dealt, this is our reality. We have to cope with it. Yet no matter how hard we may try, hopelessness and despair always seem to invade our minds and hearts. In this scenario, the past and the present doom the future. It's the scenario of the world, and it's the scenario into which the Father sent His Son....Immanuel...God with us. God for us. God, if we will receive Him, in us.
Christmastime can be a place of thinking upon so many things. The visitors I mention above can and do come to all of us. What we need to know, must know, is that Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords has entered into all of our past, all of our present, and holds every bit of our future. The power that darkness may seek to work through these places has been broken forever by Him who not only holds the keys to life, He is Life. His Kingdom has always been, and His Kingdom will never end. The angels announced this to shepherds in a field, and this message continues to be announced to all who will hear down through ages and beyond. He is. He was, and He is to come. No matter what has been, could have been, or is, He reigns over it all. In the midst of all of it, even for the one I speak of above, there is a living hope. To us a Savior has been given.....and He bids us come to Him for He has already come to us.
Yes, we live in what is....and what is, is Christ....Greater than all our sin...Greater than all our need....Greater than all that has been, could have been, or is. Before it all, He was. In it all, He is.....Jesus.....Messiah....Immanuel.... God with us.