John George “Jack” Phillips sat in the “wireless” room of the Titanic, busily sending telegraphic messages from the ship’s passengers. Trying to claw back what might have seemed a mountain of backlog after the “wireless” equipment broke down the day before.
Then at 9.30pm came an iceberg warning from the steamship Mesaba. He quickly scribbled the message down on paper, then placed it on a paperweight beside his elbow. He then turned back to his mountain of work.
At 10.55pm, he received a message from the SS Californian, from the ship’s only wireless operator, Cyril Evans, warning that the Californian (which was near the Titanic) was surrounded by ice and now stopped. Phillips replied, “Shut up, shut up. I am busy working Cape Race.”
At 11.40pm, the Titanic struck an iceberg.
I don’t want to hang on to a life-saving message and not pass it on.
It is that time of the year again. I can hear carols . The city is starting to fill with bright lights and Christmas cheer. Many homes have begun to deck their trees with beautiful things. I can see tinsel in plenty. There are cards to be written, gifts to be wrapped, parties to attend, Christmas day menus to prepare for. Christmas is coming!
I can join the many who wish you “Merry Christmas”. And I can join the crowds who would like to tone that down to “Happy Holidays”.
But that would be superficial compared to what is in my heart for you. I would like to tell you about the reason for Christmas, the reason why we celebrate it so. And I would like to share with you the good news that came that day more than two thousand years ago. It is there in the word Christmas. Celebrating the Christ.
“There were sheepherders camping in the neighbourhood They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Saviour has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12
Jesus Christ was born in human flesh, yet also God. Why would God do this?
But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.
Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:21-24
All my old religiosity did not set me well with God. My striving for excellence and perfection always falls short of God’s standards. Trying harder just leads to defeat and frustration. The transformation of my life started when I accepted Jesus Christ (God’s free gift) as Lord. He alone places me in perfect standing with God. I depend on Jesus, the one who completes and finishes my faith, the one who lets me wear his righteousness as if it is my own, the one who advocates for me. The one who personifies God’s perfect love for me. And for you.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.
He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18
I hope that this Christmas, you will take the opportunity to know more about Jesus: what he said, what he did and what he offers. And, beyond knowing (as many already do), may you take that step towards him, God’s free gift: embodying freedom, healing, restoration, a full and meaningful life, now and on to eternity.
If you want to know the ABCs of getting right with God, here’s Pastor John Iuliano of LifeSourcetv. Be blessed!