My Birthday: a letter from Jesus
Dear loved ones,
As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.
It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.
As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.
Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don’t know the meaning of the celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn’t remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face … and I wanted to be with them and share their table.
In truth, that didn’t surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn’t invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.
They were eating and drinking, telling jokes and laughing. They were having a grand time. To top it all, this big fat man, all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling "Ho-Ho-Ho!" He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" … as if the party were in his honor!
At 12 Midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and … do you know … no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. How would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted and quietly left.
Every year it gets worse. People only remember the food, the gifts, and the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.
I want to share something with you. As many didn’t invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I’m still making the final arrangements.
Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don’t answer the invitation will be left outside. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.
See you soon.
I Love you!
Matthew 22.1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Jesus once told a story to the chief priests and Pharisees saying that the kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He invited some, saying, “Come” but they refused the invitation. As the food was prepared and ready to eat, he sent out the second invitation to them, “Come.” But they again paid no attention and went about their daily business.
So the king sent out a third invitation, this invitation to a different group of people. This invitation was to no special group, but to those in the streets. He gathered all he could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with those wearing wedding clothes.
Today Jesus Christ not only sends out an invitation to celebrate Christmas, the true meaning of Christmas, his coming to earth in human form. But he sends out an invitation for us to join him at his Second Coming. You see when Jesus left this earth he said that he was going to prepare a place for us and that he would come and get us so that we could be with him and live with him. (John 14).
Revelation 22, the very last book of the Bible, talks about that coming.
Anticipating His Coming
This passage proclaims the Second Coming of Christ and that his coming is soon or quick. It even ends with a call for Jesus to come. His coming is anticipated, even longed for.
How many of you are anticipating Christmas? How many are you hoping Christmas comes soon?
Most people I know look at the countdown of days until Christmas and moan. I was in a local restaurant a couple of weeks ago and they had up on their board, x number of days until Christmas. I was in Walmart, standing in line and there on a gift card display, x days ‘til Christmas. We moan because we think of all the unfinished chores. The stores proclaim the number of days so you sense the urgency and grab one of those gift cards. (and by the way, you have 7 more days until Christmas.)
But ask a child how many days until Christmas … and their eyes light up with excitement. They can’t wait for Christmas morning! With all those packages under the tree! They expect new toys and they expect to play all day! They expect to do the things they love to do!
You know, that sounds just a little bit like heaven to me. Revelation 22 says that when Christ comes, his reward is with him, he will give to everyone according to what they have done. If we have kept the words of this book, we will be ready. If our robes have been washed, if we have accepted what Jesus Christ has done for us: that he was born into this world so that he might die on a cross and be resurrected from the dead, bringing us new life, a life that will endure. A life that will one day bring us into the very presence of God, that will call us to dwell with Christ.
And Revelation 22 puts out an invitation, “Come!” “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
Why should we be excited about this place? Why should we long for the time of his second coming?
Revelation 22 opens by saying that the river of the water of life flows and on each side of the river stands the tree of life. And that the curse is broken. Everything that happened in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit will be reversed. Satan will no longer be present, nor the sin and temptation that he brings. There will be no more death or dying. There will be no more sickness; no more pain; no more sorrow. We can finally say good-bye to the ills of this world, the ills of this life.
God’s people will be rewarded with eternal life. Our bodies will be glorified. We will be like Christ. In these days we long to be like Christ. Every day is a journey toward transformation, being more and more made into the image of Christ. On that day, when Christ comes again, we will like him.
1 John 3.2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Let us look with joyful expectation to the coming of Christ. Let us remember this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Christ, that as God was faithful to fulfill that promise, he will be faithful to fulfill all his promises. As people longed for the birth of Messiah, as they waited and watched, let us long for the Second Coming of Christ. Let us be all the more faithful to believe that as God’s word promises, his word will be fulfilled. We do not know the time, nor the hour, but let us wait with eager expectation.
Let us responsivively read the sure words of scripture in Canticle of Hope UMH #734