“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. ” John 14: 1: 4
I recently watched the 2014 movie The Gospel of John and admit that the last supper conversation seemed to affect me a little deeper than it has in the past. As I listened to the narrator, who read the NIV gospel version verbatim, I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus was speaking directly to me. He acknowledged the special bond believers have with Him and reminded us that there is a place set aside for those who believe. Jesus shared that He was leavening and at first that may seem sad. However, because I know the whole story He shared, I was listening for the joyous messages that are part of the Christmas story; the ones that remind us that He was born so our future home can be with Him.
During Christmas we often hear messages about Joseph and Mary’s commonness, the lowly setting in which Jesus was born, and how Angels shouted out the night He was born. We don’t often link it to the fall in the Garden and our subsequent sinful nature which brought about the need for Christmas as well as Easter. We don’t often mention that, because of our inclination to be naughty, God had to put a plan in place so that the many rooms in His house would be filled with all those who believe in the birth, life, teaching, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the plan that sees Jesus coming back to earth one day and fulfilling the promise of taking believers with Him into His Father house for all of eternity. This is part of the Christmas story that many do not know but should hear.
During this time of the year we laugh, sing, eat and are merry. Many are open to reconciling and connecting with those we avoided all year and so opportunities to live our faith in front of another are increased because of the spirit of Christmas. Please remember the reason behind the season and pray that you can be witnesses to someone so you can share the promise behind the birth. Fire and brimstone talks will get you talked about, but inviting someone to break bread with you and enjoy this time of year together will guarantee a second encounter and maybe a room mate in eternity. Pray that God prepares someone to hear the whole story and that may be part of sharing some or all of it. Ask God to prepare you for an encounter. Enjoy this season. Remember the reason. Preach the gospel and, as Francis of Assisi says, if necessary use words.