The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only begotten, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:14].
What are the events that brought us the most meaning this Holiday Season? Was it the presents that we received or was it the time spent with our family and friends?
When we think of heaven, do we first think of the things we will receive: eternal life, a mansion with many rooms, plenty of good food, no worries, no tears, and no death? Undoubtedly, many think about reuniting with lost loved ones. But how many long for heaven as the consummation of a personal relationship with God: a reunion between God and his lost loved ones?
The Bible repeatedly describes Christ’s return as a wedding day. It is the day when the Bridegroom comes to get his Bride. Human love and marriage is an example that God uses to show us that he seeks a personal and intimate relationship with us.
God is a real person. He demonstrated that to us by becoming one of us, and living a life for us. “No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son who is at the Father’s side has made him known.” (John 1:18).
In false belief systems, the universe is run by impersonal forces, and the one common denominator in all these false religions is that these forces can be used by man. These are forces to be selfishly manipulated, not people to be loved. Even some church people treat God in this way, thinking that if they live a good life, then God must or will reward them. But we will never find true meaning nor salvation for our lives in this way.
Abraham lived a “good life,” but not because he expected God to reward him like an employer; but rather because he was God’s child through faith. God was not Abraham’s employer, but rather his Father and friend. (James 2:23). How do we treat our true friends?
Many Christians look to Jesus’ resurrection as convincing evidence for their faith, but we should also look to his birth and life as a human person. His multifaceted personality is unique in the belief systems of this world: God is a person, and as we learn every holiday season, only a relationship with another person can bring true meaning to our lives. In fact, God has an eternal and infinite personality, and through Christ, only he can bring eternal and infinite meaning to our lives.
The celebrations we have here on earth in commemoration of his birth in a manger are only a faint reflection of that heavenly celebration. At that time we will not only see each other, but we will at last see God: face to face, person to person, friend to friend.
No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son who is at the Father’s side has made him known. [John 1:18].
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Notes: This article was first published in the St. Peter Church newsletter, January 2001 A.D.