Friday, December 24, 2010

The Visitor

This is a strange place, I thought, as I stared into the darkness of my solitary room. I’m not sure this is the place for me. I opened the curtains and stared into the darkness outside and then went back to the bed. There was nothing in the room except the bed, a large TV that didn’t’ work and two books in the drawer next to the bed. The first was a fat and flimsy phone book. I thumbed through its pages, but the lists of names and places seemed like a foreign language and had no meaning. I looked at the other, with its black cover and its simple title, “Holy Bible”. Inside was a stamp, “The Gideons International”.

I opened it up to the first page “In the beginning, God…Let there be light”. I stopped at this point and went to the window and opened the curtain. Rays of light pierced the black horizon and I saw the outline of a large tree which became sharper and filled with color as the light rose in the east. This God must be wonderful to create such a world. I closed the book and left my room and went outside into this new world.

I felt a cool nip from a brisk wind as I stared at the tree that I’d seen outside my window. Its leaves were a bright gold and, as the wind blew, I saw several of them carried on the breeze. They settled on the ground with silent resolution as I walked on, following the last leaf to its resting place far away from the mother tree. As I walked I saw many buildings and vehicles and the air became filled with a foul smell as I walked past a large black building that was sending its smoke high into the morning sky. I guess this world is not as wonderful as I thought. And I went back to my room.

I sat on the bed and read more of the book.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made”.

And I read how the beautiful Garden was spoiled and I cried. This
God must have given something more. He wouldn’t allow his creation to exist with
such despair. And I read on. So many of the people were cruel and hateful, but a few remained true to God. And then I read the answer:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before me…”

I read those commandments over and over. These are words that will cause the ruin of Satan and surely will allow the world to return to its original beauty. And so I went out again, filled with hope that the laws of God were all that the people of the world needed.

I walked for a while. I saw the people milling about, some smiling, some hand in hand and I was filled with joy. God’s commandments were all the world needed. But, as I walked along I glanced down a side street and saw a man strike a woman. She fell to the ground and he ran off with the bag she had been carrying. But the laws; what about the laws? I walked on. I saw a group of men and women beating an old man, laughing as they kicked him in the side. I ran to help the old man as the vicious mob left him lying on the ground. I stooped down and held his bloody face, but there was no life in him as I gently laid his head on the ground. God’s laws mean nothing to these people. And I went back to my room.

These people have forgotten what’s in this book. Surely they all must have read it. I read on and on.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die…
A time to love, and a time to hate…
A time for war, and a time for peace”

Maybe it’s not the time for God? I’ll venture out into the world again. And so I went out, again. The sun was high in the sky and people milled about as before. I passed a building filled with people, laughing, singing, a place of celebration. I went inside. There were men and women mingling about, all of them smiling and laughing. I stood at a long wooden counter and a man asked me if I wanted anything. I looked at him and smiled, but I didn’t say a word and he went away. I looked up at the large TV “…war in the Middle East seems to be escalating as Israel and Lebanon traded bombs earlier today…” I picked up the newspaper that was on the counter “…terrorist attacks in Europe have raised the alert level to red…” A time for war, but is there a time for peace? I left that place and went back to my room. The crispness of autumn had given away to the frigid snow of winter.

I continued to read.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger…

‘Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’…

…he was called Jesus…”

And I read on. Surely this Jesus is the answer. His words bring strength and meaning to God’s laws. And so I went back into the world. Outside the ground was white with snow and bright colored lights were everywhere. The world is celebrating the news, a giant, joyful gala for Jesus. The people must be very happy that God has remained faithful to them.even when they are bad.

I heard all types of song, about the joy of Christmas and people wishing each other Happy Holidays and exchanging gifts. But, the songs carried a different massage. The music sounded joyful, but the words were empty. I heard about Santa Claus and reindeer and snow and trees and poor Grandma was run over by a reindeer and there was something about a “Grinch”. But nary word about God or Jesus. I guess was wrong to think that a holiday called Christmas would be about Jesus Christ. There must be some other Christ that is being celebrated.

In despair I went back to my room. I read more of the book.

“So they took Jesus and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified Him…

…it is finished, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

…go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord…’.”

And I read on and then I knew. God never gave up on his creation. His love is so great that He gave all that he could so that mankind would be free. Even though the world wallows in sin, God’s grace overcomes the evil and his love shines through. And, finally, I understood and I went back into the world. I still saw the wickedness and corruption, but I also saw hope and truth; truth that needs to be shared with all the world.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!