Kalamazoo, Mich., reporter, Don Rice, was stopped at a traffic signal when he saw a billboard for a medical center. The billboard had a picture of the nativity scene with the words, “After Thousands of Births, One Still Inspires Us.”
Rice writes, “I salute the creator of the posting…I think one does not have to profess to be a Christian to get the impact of the message. For whatever else Jesus was, I feel He seems to have been, and still is, man’s best man.”
Mr. Rice is so right about the impact that Jesus’ message has made on the world. I am a Christian and believe He is God incarnate. His impact is on several fronts in life.
Jesus impacts society. Rice quotes Sidney Harris, “It is easy to think Christmas, and easy to believe Christmas; but it is hard—sometimes intolerably hard—to act Christmas. It is not our false commercialism that prevents it, but our false spirituality, not the clang of the cash register, but the jingle of bells calls us to sentimentality, seducing us from the year-round ministry of brotherhood.”
Doing Christmas isn’t easy. Christianity is not a soft religion, but a tough faith to live and act on.
Rice said the fraying of the fabric of our social life today is more and more perceived as a national obsession. Fear is still everywhere. As it was 21 years ago when Rice was writing, fear is a major concern.
Confrontations occur daily. Racial conflicts, women against patriarchy, gays against homophobia, conservatives against liberals, fathers against child support, churchgoers against church policies, students against universities. A U.S. News & World Report editorial stated, “Instead of a culture of common good, we have a culture of constant complaint; everyone is a victim…gone are the habits America once admired; industriousness, thrift, self-discipline, commitment.”
I. Jesus calls us to make a difference in the society. So what are some of the positive ways to do that? Smile at someone today. Speak positive words of greetings. Hug someone instead of ignoring him or her. Build bridges instead of walls. Love instead of hate. Work together, not in opposition.
II. Jesus impacts individuals. Yes, Jesus came to impact society, but He does it one person at a time. You matter to God. Reading the Bible, I am impressed with the individual attention Jesus gave to individuals. He talked one on one with people such as Nicodemus, Philip, Nathanael, Mary, Martha, John the Baptist, an invalid at Bethesda, Peter and many more. You never will be lost in the crowd. He knows you individually. The Bible says each individual is known so intimately that even the number of hairs on our heads are numbered. So whatever you are going through, God will help you individually. Break down the walls and be open to Him. Read His Word, pray and listen.
III. Jesus impacts spiritually. The bottom line of Christmas…a new life and a new beginning. Probably the most quoted verse in the Bible is John 3:16 with good reason. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The spiritual impact is a divine love that reaches down to us, lasting for eternity, to all who believe and accept His love. When you look at the nativity scene this Christmas, be reminded of why He came. It truly is a birth that inspires.