2018-12-23 - The Stairs
A New Christmas Devotional
Sometimes I watch a video on YouTube, and then that leads to another and another - and six hours later, I emerge from a long string of videos. OK maybe not that long. It may be closer to six minutes, maybe even sixteen, but I digress. Anyway, during a recent bout of YouTube binging on some funny epic fail videos, I saw a few that dealt with people on exercise equipment, which reminded me of something I had seen in another video. That led me to this thought that I want to share with you today.
There is a piece of exercise equipment that is a never-ending set of steps. It is much like walking the wrong way on a small escalator. On this equipment, you can keep climbing, but you will never reach the top. No matter how hard you try, there will always be a new step in front of you, and you will never reach the top. Another piece of equipment has rungs of a ladder, and works under a similar premise. No matter how hard you climb, there will always be another rung.
Watching someone on this equipment is an accurate picture of every religion, ever. There is a god or a goal at the top of the stairs, and you have to keep climbing up to it. No matter how hard you try, you just can't quite get there. Some religions even suggest that like a video game, you will get multiple lives, in order to try to get to the top. In religion, the god on top calls out, "I want you to come to me. Achieve this level, so we can be together." Since the beginning of man, this was the religion scene: Take these steps, and you can come to me, but getting there requires a lot of work - and no one is really sure if they ever make it or not. We follow the dos and don'ts, but there's always another step.
Onto the religion scene. Out of nowhere, the gospel – the good news – enters the religion scene. Look with me at my favorite nativity narrative, found in John 1. It's in verse 14, but for a little context, I want to take you back to the first part of the chapter first.
John 1:1-4These verses introduce the Word. The Word is Jesus, and so in verse 14, we find a very short Christmas story. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14 Out of a nowhere called Bethlehem, God became flesh. God came down!
Don't miss that – God came down. God stopped the unending, unachievable escalator treadmill horror of religion, and came down to us. Elsewhere, Jesus is given the name Emmanuel, which translates as "God with us." God said, "I know you can't get here, so I'm coming there." On that first Christmas, he came down. And on that first Easter, he carried us up to the top, and finally we could say, "It is finished!" Now, in just a single step of faith, we can come to God - because of Jesus. We must let him do what we cannot do, so we get to go where we want to be, but cannot.
This Christmas I will enjoy my presents under the tree, but I will also enjoy his presence with me – God came down!
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted