One of the greatest basketball players of all time once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” If Michael Jordan never shot the basketball as a kid, if he didn’t spend countless hours practicing his basketball skills … he would just be a normal person. However, Jordan worked hard growing up on fine tuning his basketball skills and became one of the greatest basketball players of all times.
Growing up in the 90’s when Jordan was in his prime and the Chicago Bulls were winning their championships, I remember a young guy who was working on his turn around fade away jump shot at the buzzer, wanting to be like Mike. Actually he even knew the words to the song used for the Gatorade commercials which aired back in 1992. But instead of being like Michael Jordan and playing professional basketball, you got me. Sorry.
In our Christmas Carol story, we left off with Ebenezer Scrooge looking into the house of Tiny Tim. He asks the question, “Will Tiny Tim get well?” Turning to get the answer, the vision of Christmas present is past and another vision has started. A vision of the Christmas Future.
In the movie, which I watched the other night, if Ebenezer continued living his life only worrying about himself and how much money he could save … not only does Tiny Tim not get well, but Ebenezer sees his own future. He sees the people saying how cold hearted he was, how uncaring he was, how no one was missing him after he was gone. Instead, people were happy that he was gone.
Realizing all this and not liking what he saw … Ebenezer dropped to his knees, folded his hands and said, “Dear Lord, please help me change!” Ebenezer realized his sin and confessed it. Hehad a change of heart. Like the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, I think Ebenezer’s heart grew three times the size that night.
When he opened his eyes … he was back in his bedroom and danced across the floor. It was Christmas day and the Bah Humbugging Scrooge was a changed man as he ran through the town to see Tiny Tim and share good cheer with all he met. The story says, “From that day on, it may sound strange, but Ebenezer had been changed. Each year, each Christmas and each day, he shared Christ’s love in every way.”
The Christmas past of Jesus’ birth, the Christmas present of Christ living within us, leads to our Christmas future. What is in our heart, or better yet, who is in our heart … will determine our Christmas future.
If darkness is in our heart, if only the love of myself and money or other things is all that is in my heart … then my Christmas future will not be one celebrated in the presence of Jesus.
However … if Christ is in my heart, then Jesus will do what his name means. Jesus will save his people, he will save us, from their sins (Matt. 1:21). Jesus will save us from our sins and when our time in this life is up … a new life will begin in the physical presence of Jesus and that is a Christmas future worth looking forward too.
But wait a minute … we aren’t there yet, are we? We are still living in the Christmas Present! Which means … we have the opportunity to take more shots! We have the opportunity to take joy of Christmas, to take the joy of Christ living in our hearts and be like Ebenezer and share Christ’s love in every way. The steadfast love and joy of Jesus in our hearts is so abundant, is so great that there is absolutely no way in which we can keep it inside of us. Whether we can visit with people or not, there is always a way in which the joy of Christmas, the joy of Christ being born to save us, can be spread to those around us.
Your book ends with these words … “Each Christmas and on every day, filled with God’s love, we all can say, ‘We welcome Jesus, God’s own Son. Through him … God blesses everyone!’” God truly bless us, every one! And all God’s people say … Amen.