Christmas can often be a season of choosing. We choose to decorate or not; find the best gifts or just pick something, anything; invite friends and family or spend the time “alone”; give our attention to the reason for the season or simply succumb to the hoopla created in the marketplace. We choose and it happens almost without any inclination to stop it.
Our ability – or should I say capacity for choice has a long and not so glorious history. We can start with the Genesis story and see it begin to unfold there in the garden. One fateful day people chose fruit over faithfulness, fig leaves over fidelity and at that point the drama of God’s plan for restoring his original intent for all creation begins to take a turn. As time steadily marches forward, new choices are being made. Abraham chooses, Moses chooses, Joshua and the other judges make choices, the prophets choose, and the list goes on. Ironically enough, similar to the first choice that started it all, two women are then chosen to begin unwrapping God’s intended gift that will set the story back on course.
Elizabeth bears the announcer and Mary bears the only begotten son who will be announced to the world as God’s choice to bring mankind back into a right relationship with himself. Then the process of choosing begins all over again. When confronted with the message of the kingdom of God, people must now choose again. Will they choose light or darkness, life or death, heaven or hell?
Admittedly, our track record isn’t real great. In all candor my track record isn’t all that great. I want to make good choices but there are way too many times when I choose fig leaves over fidelity. My intentions are good, but as the saying goes, “The highway to hell is paved with good intentions.” What’s a person to do? It boils down to another choice.
One fateful night, over two thousand years ago, “a baby’s cry pierced the darkness”. At precisely that time, God turned the page in his plan. It was a plan that involved a man who would be “full of grace and truth.” A man who would welcome us into his family and show us his fullness, a fullness that smothers us with his grace – grace upon grace. Our choice is to follow him or not, to somehow choose to suppress our own not-so-good choices and take up a symbol of death and follow his leading. It’s a choice we must make daily if we are to see the kingdom of God.
How hard is that? It’s hard beyond measure. If it were easy then the choice between an apple and allegiance would have been a no-brainer. If it were easy, cresting the hill of faith would have been attractive and there never would have been a cross. If it were easy there would simply be an illuminated path of joy and peace, there’d be no dying to self. No, it’s hard, hard beyond measure. There’s no room for sitting on my blessed assurance and riding it out. I am called to choose faith, not sight; to trust implicitly not with mediocrity; and to surrender my own desires in order to fulfill God’s desires.
Yes, it’s all about choice.