“The service had a different feel to it,” that is what my pastor friend told me. When my friend reached the end of his message, he said, “I sense that there are several people here today who have a desperate need for God in your life. If you’d like to know how God can enter your life, I’d like to tell you especially about Jesus Christ. I’ll meet you in a little room over at the side of the sanctuary.”
The pastor anticipated that six or ten people would join him. To his amazement, there were thirty crowded in the little room. He asked them if they all wanted to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. They did.
He began to tell them the old story of how Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and grew up to be a carpenter. However, Jesus was unique. He was and is truly the Son of God. The pastor told how Jesus was tempted in the desert and baptized in the river, how he called His disciples and preached the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and how he touched the lives of people and the people were changed.
Finally, the enemies of goodness and love ended the life of Jesus on a cross where He suffered, died, and was buried. However, the enemies of goodness and love were foolish. Jesus conquered death and, on the third day, the power of heaven fell upon His dead body. Jesus Christ rose to new life. He now stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Will you let Him in?
As my pastor friend explained the story of Christ to this crowd of thirty people, each one personally accepted Jesus. Each one heard the silent knock on the spiritual door of the heart and opened the door by confession, commitment, and faith.
In the group was a young man named Bob. He was an airline pilot. He asked, “Pastor, I am in such need. Do you think Jesus could really help me, too?” The pastor stepped forward, reached up his hand, and placed it solidly on this man’s shoulder. He said, “Bob, I’m only a man. I put my hand on your shoulder to let you know that I love you. However, I also want you to know that I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ. If He were here today in flesh and blood, He would put His hand on your shoulder. He would look you in the eye and say, “I love you.” Bob, Jesus Christ is here today. There is no doubt of it in my mind. You may not feel the heaviness of His hand on your shoulder, but He will lift the heaviness off your heart.”
Bob accepted Jesus Christ.
The weeks and the months rolled by. Bob was eager to learn everything he could about Jesus. The pastor arranged for a trip to the Holy Land for members friends of the church. Bob went along. The saw many of the places where Jesus lived and ministered; the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee, Capernium, Jerusalem, Calvary, Gethsemane, and the empty tomb in the garden. On the last evening of the trip, the group boarded the tour bus for a midnight ride to Bethlehem, just five miles away.
Together, the group held a worship service in the Field of the Shepherds just outside the little town where Jesus was born, wrapped is strips of cloth, and laid in a manger. The group sang together, shared testimonies of faith, and stood silently looking at the stars. The pastor preached a simple message as he retold the story of Jesus. When he reached the climax of his sermon, he flung his hand toward the city of Bethlehem and said, “What would the world be like if He hadn’t been born there?”
The question was more than Bob could take. He broke down and began to sob. Bob held his own hands to his chest and said, “And, what would I be like if He hadn’t been born here?”
God has a story. You have a story. When God’s story touches your story, the story of your life is transformed. That is the good news of Christmas. God entered into our world. His story can become your new life.
Copyright Richard Leslie Parrott. Ph.D.