Jeremiah 23: 5-6
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David [a] a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.”
On a plaque marking Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky, is recorded this scrap of conversation: “Any news down ‘t the village, Ezry?” “Well, Squire McLain’s gone t’ Washington t’ see Madison swore in, and ol’ Spellman tells me this Bonaparte fella has captured most o’ Spain. What’s new out here, neighbor?” “Nuthin’ nuthin’ a’tall, ‘cept fer a new baby born t’ Tom Lincoln’s. Nothin’ ever happens out here.”
Some events – whether birthdays in Hodgenville (or Bethlehem) or spiritual rebirth in a person’s life – may not create much earthly splash, but those of lasting importance will eventually get the notice they deserve.
However, knowing the facts of the story is not enough. We have to put ‘what we know’ into action. Knowing that Jesus was born was only the beginning. At every turn or twist, Jesus asked his followers to not just ‘know him’ but to follow him.
So, why does it often seem so much easier to just watch and not share the love of Christ in the world? In sending Jesus the way God did, he didn’t stop at prophesying Jesus’ arrival, he literally arrived like us and in our journey so that he could know and experience our path the way we do. Therefore, he is not simply the Savior; he wants to be ‘my’ Savior, and ‘your’ Savior.
Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. He went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
(Image Credit: Jonathan Trappe / clusterballoon.com)
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky – smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
“Where you scared?” “Yes.”
“Would you do it again?” “No.”
“Why did you do it?” “Because,” he said, “you can’t just sit there.”
My prayer for this Advent season is that I won’t get caught ‘just sitting there’ when it comes to sharing the Good News of Jesus. Sure, I will not always get it right and may have a few mistakes or mishaps along the way, but God knows our path better than we do and he walks with us every step of The Way. Merry Christmas.