“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51
Right now we Lutherans are in the midst of Lent, a time when we remember Christ’s journey to the cross. It’s apparent that Jesus knew exactly where his trip to Jerusalem would take him, because in the same chapter he tells his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9:22
Yet, He was determined. Why? He knew it was His Father’s will, and He knew His sacrifice was necessary to save us from our sins, once and for all. The suffering, the rejection, the pain was insignificant in light of the benefit to the world. It’s embarrassing to think of how I often I am annoyed at the prospect of sacrificing for somebody else, even when all I am sacrificing is my own convenience or time! This is not Christ-like, and not what is expected of us as true followers:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Lent is a time to ponder the way of the cross. The way Christ took and the way we’re called to walk as well.
I’ve always liked this hymn, often used on Palm Sunday, which encourages all Christians to follow Christ’s way, in the direction of the cross.
I originally planned to simply post this quote, but I found it so challenging personally that I decided to blog about it. I have to admit that Christmas is often a time when I want to impress others, at least a little. There are those family members and friends I don’t see or hear from too often during the year so ….when we get together I’d like them to see me at my best. I take care with how I look and what I wear, and even what I tell them about how my life is going.
Then there are the gifts …I prefer to be the giver, rather than humbly receiving. I enjoy giving gifts and feeling generous. Isn’t there some pride in this? I don’t like others to see that I need them or what they have to offer.
What about food? Instead of a simple meal together, Christmas has to be a feast … in fact, a series of feasts and parties and excess. Through it all, I’m hoping that my culinary contributions will measure up and be appreciated as “the best.”
I can give myself a pass on decorating, probably because I simply don’t have that talent or inclination. However, for many of us, it’s worthwhile to consider: am I decorating to welcome the King? Or to impress my visitors with ‘house beautiful’?
Jesus came on Christmas as a helpless infant. He was born in a dirty stable to poor parents. He left honor and glory behind to become one of us, one of the least of us… and why? Simply out of love. The least we can do is love others and receive His sacrifice in humility and grateful worship. I see clearly how things should be, but understanding it is much easier than living it. Authors and readers have you found ways to celebrate Christmas correctly? I’d like to hear some suggestions.