Welcome to Real Life. Have you experienced the Christmas story?
Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
A few years ago, my husband and I visited Yosemite for the first time. Before going, we viewed countless gorgeous photos of its monuments and vistas. But nothing could prepare us for the day we drove into the park. We kept pulling off to the side of the road with our jars dropping. There was a vast difference between observing a photograph of Yosemite and experiencing the real thing.
As a young woman, I knew the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus born in Bethlehem’s manger. I knew about Jesus, but I didn’t know Him personally. I didn’t know that was possible. I loved singing Christmas carols. But I sang the words with little comprehension of their meaning. Bethlehem was like a beautiful photograph. Jesus, a Savior, was born. But he was not
Everything changed one Sunday in December many years ago. I was invited to a church where the pastor preached a message from God’s Word. I didn’t understand it all. But sitting in that church, I realized I was an observer looking at a photograph. I was standing outside a life of faith. I wanted in. So that morning, I prayed. I confessed I was a sinner. I surrendered my heart and life to Jesus Christ. In that moment, he forgave my sins. His love and peace flooded my soul. Like driving into Yosemite, I experienced the real thing. I came to know God personally.
It was Christmas time. As I sang carols that year, for the first time, I found myself, my story, my experience in their verses. I was no longer an observer. I became a participant. Jesus, my Savior, was born.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room.
That’s me! I prepared room in my heart and life for Jesus. My world was full of joy!
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.”
That’s me! God and I had not been on speaking terms. Now I knew Him and my heart was fully at peace with Him.
O little town of Bethlehem…
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend on us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
That’s me! Jesus forgave my sin and cast it out when He entered my heart and life. I was born again.
It’s Christmas time. Do the carols tell your story? Is the baby in the manger your Savior? For many, the Christmas story is like a beautiful photograph. But if like me that Sunday in December, you want in, I invite you to pray this prayer with me.
Lord Jesus, I surrender my heart and life to you.
I believe you were born in Bethlehem to be my Savior
And that you died on the cross for my sins.
Please forgive my sins and make me a new person.
Jesus, help me to know you and follow you. Amen.
If you prayed just now, heaven is rejoicing! And I am, too! Please tell someone you know who is a Christian so that they can help you grow in your new faith. I pray you will experience the Christmas story in all its glory this year. Because Bethlehem is more than a beautiful photograph. Jesus Christ was born to be our Savior!
Take it further… If you have questions, if you don’t fully understand why you need a Savior, learn more at Chat About Jesus.
Peggi Tustan is an ordinary woman living and extraordinary real Life in Christ. Visit her at www.eggitustan.com.