On the Last Day of Christmas (Making Sense of the Season)

If on the first day of Christmas you clearly remembered what the Savior was given to save us from, it would then be ideal if by the last day you had a full heart from trying to count (but being unable) the number of amazing things you’ve been saved to.

Point of origin is one thing; destination is something entirely different.  And often better; much better.

The Antique Road Show has featured some amazing finds over the years – people who came with something handed down, hanging on the wall, or kept under a dusty bed, only to find out is was an unknown treasure.

  • Like the Original “Peanuts” comic strip valued at $450,000 – the owner had worked with the cartoonist to develop a line of “Peanuts” Hallmark greeting cards and Shultz gave her some original strips as a gift.  She had stored them under her bed!
  • Like the Navajo chief’s blanket valued at $500,000 – made sometime before 1865 and one of only 50 that still exist today. The unsuspecting owner said the blanket had been in his family for years.
  • Like the oil painting by Clyfford Still valued at $500,000 – a housewarming present given 50 years previous, worth much more than the recipient could have conceived.
  • Or like the Chinese jade carved bowls valued at a whopping $1.07 million – a collection passed down to the owner from her father who was stationed in China while in the U.S. military in the 1930s and 1940s (I guess some service turns out to be more profitable than others).

Do you know what you have?  Most don’t.  They treat salvation like a cheap life insurance policy tucked away in a draw just in case.

It’s so much more – unbelievably more.

New Testament texts abound that attempt to measure what we have in Christ.  Here’s just a few..

Romans 5:1-11 list such priceless aspects as justification, peace with God, access into the grace in which we now stand, hope of the glory of God, rejoicing in our sufferings, the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and reconciliation.  These are practical and present tense.  Consider just one of these for those of you who are sports fans…

…access into the grace in which we now stand – something so different than what athletes experience.  It’s Super Bowl season presently and some are projected to win and some to lose.  At the end of it all, only one team will stand in glory, and all others will experience turnover, blame and loss of standing.  Salvation offers something very different – permanent standing in grace; continued access to the unmerited favor of God.  Whether you win or lose in life’s contests, you stand permanently in God’s love and care.  You’re a perpetual winner – standing in God’s grace.

1 Peter 1:3-12 lists things that are ahead – what we look forward to: a living hope, an inheritance kept in heaven for you, an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, shielding by God’s power until all that salvation means is revealed in the last time, the process of faith proving that points toward praise, glory and honor, and it’s all something so wonderful that angels long to be able to understand it (meaning, to whatever extent angels can be jealous… they are – of you!).

Again, consider just one of these, for those of you who are investors…

…an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – now there’s something foreign to our economic times!  How successful have you been at “beating the market”?  If you’ve looked for a safe place to invest your money like many you’ve perhaps come to the conclusion that the way capitalism seems to work most often in your life is with you being the one capitalized on!  Little guys put their hard earned dollars on the same table as the big boys who run billion dollar hedge funds.  And you find out the golden rule of finance – “The one with the most gold makes most of the rules”.  But salvation promises an inheritance the market bulls and bears cannot manipulate, thieves cannot steal, and inflation cannot destroy.  It’s there waiting for you, as glorious the day you first see it with your own eyes as 10,000 years later.

I’ve been going through my parents’ possessions over the last few years, trying to process their estate.  One lesson comes home again and again:  most stuff just isn’t worth much in the long run.  What we work so hard to buy, maintain, and store, simply isn’t worth it.

The good news is that what you’ve been given in Christ through salvation is… now and forever.

-Anthony