I love Dicken’s Christmas Carol for it’s heartwarming story, words that leap out of the book and invite you to cozy up near the fire, with the Christmas tree lit, and escape into “the spirit of Christmas” — complete with a cup of tea.
But for all my love for the classic story, it hands us an exquisitely wrapped package with nothing but air inside. Sure, it warms the heart, makes you want to give more and be a better person. But for all Scrooge’s encounters with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come, he’s left with nothing more than the vague command to “honor Christmas in your heart.”
In the story, Scrooge is transformed. But who ever has been transformed, at least for long, by a vague notion to try to do better and act like Christmas all year? We all know how long it takes for New Year’s Resolutions to go out the window!
But this Christmas, I want to remind you of a more powerful message, one that really transforms lives and offers us hope to change, not only for the holiday, but the rest of our lives. That gift is new life, given through the gospel.
The offer of the gospel is so radical that it promises us new life from death. Like the vivid illustration Ezekiel got by stepping into a valley of dry bones and watching before his eyes as they rejoined, bone-by-bone, and became living, breathing human beings once again. That’s the radical nature of the gospel – God taking dead hearts, not only incapable of saving ourselves but even of desiring or choosing to, and making us alive!
Take a moment today to meditate on these powerful promises of our new life in Christ:
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
- “Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to the things of old” (Is. 43:18).
- “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26).
- “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).