Blessed or broken?

During this time of the year I am always cognizant of the fact that the purpose for Christmas is Easter. We spend so much time in December talking about the baby Jesus. However, if it were only about a little baby born of a virgin, our salvation would really be meaningless. What makes Christmas significant is the fact that the baby born in the lowly manger was BORN TO DIE – for you and for me. God gave us a tremendous gift in the form of God’s only son, Jesus. Yet, the true miracle is not situated in the birth alone. It’s fully situated in the fact that this baby grew into a man, one who willingly laid down his life so that you and I would be guaranteed eternal fellowship with God and a victorious life in the here and now.

And when we acknowledge and accept this gift, it comes with a responsibility to become living sacrifices. Most of us don’t even want to think about the economy and what’s happening to our retirement funds. That’s likely a good thing in some respects. We live in a time of tremendous pain. Everywhere we look, people are suffering. This is the time when we recognize that we are connected. This is the time when we realize the truth of the words “I need you to survive.”

I’m sure you’ve read this story before but it bears repeating. The truth of it is evident. I do not know the author.

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, ‘Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.’ The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.  In the middle of the room was a large round table.  In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly.  They appeared to be famished.  They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful.  But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, ‘You have seen Hell.’

They went to the next room and opened the door.  It was exactly the same as the first one.  There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water….  The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well-nourished and plump, laughing and talking.  The holy man said, ‘I don’t understand.’ It is simple,’ said the Lord.  ‘It requires but one skill.  You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.’

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