The tree stood tall and proud, forty years of Christmas memories adorning its branches. Twinkle lights blinked cheerfully, illuminating silver icicles. Sweet pine perfumed the air.
I stepped back to admire our work. Year after year, the thrill of trimming the tree returned with a freshness that made my heart tingle. I was a little girl again, reliving the wonder of the season through the eyes of my children.
"Mom, I've been waiting all day. Can we do it now?" Amanda pleaded.
"Yes, honey. We can do it now." I said.
"Yahoo!" Amanda jumped in the air with cheerleader enthusiasm. She tugged at her baby sister. "Come on, Meg! It's time to set up the manger."
I pulled the rickety barn from the box and placed it on the table. Amanda unrolled a figure from a cotton mummy casing. Three of us sat around the table, stage managers reenacting the greatest moment in history. Oohs and aahs accompanied the unveiling of each character. Even the lowliest had a special role in the wondrous drama.
Since this was Megan's first time to help, veteran managersetter-upper Amanda appointed herself director. "Mary and Joseph go in the middle of the stable." "The angel belongs on the roof." "The camel goes outside."
Finally, all the figures were in place. All but one. Megan and I hovered over Amanda as she carefully unwrapped the baby. She looked at the crowded stable. No room in the inn. She looked at me.
"What shall we do with Jesus?" she asked
Simple question. Complicated answer.
Since the death of Christ 2,000 years ago, the world has been in turmoil over what to do with Jesus. The question has divided nations, toppled governments, ripped apart families. Like an earthquake, the question split the church into hundreds of pieces. Dazed worshipers wandered aimlessly among the rubble, reeling from the after shocks that came each time the question was asked. Despite attempts at reconstruction, the building process is on hold because workers still cannot agree on what to do with Jesus.
Angels adored Him. Kings bowed before Him. Nature revered Him. Demons feared Him. Children cheered. Him. Pious pagans steered clear of Him. Sadducees questioned Him. Herodians harassed Him. Pharisees hated Him. The house of Jairus laughed at Him. His own family thought Him insane. Peter's family thought Him divine. Satan tested His humanity. The Holy Spirit proclaimed His deity. John baptized Him with water. Mary wet His feet with tears. Pilate washed His hands of Him. A widow gave Him encouragement. A boy offered Him lunch. One friend denied Him. Another friend betrayed Him. Enemies whipped Him, spit on. Him, stripped Him. A nation despised Him. God glorified Him.
What will you do with Jesus? You have three choices. Like the thief who hung on His left, you can reject Him. Like the thief who hung on His right, you can accept Him. Or, like the Roman leader Felix, you can refuse to make up your mind about Him. Bring Him out front when you want to look respectably religious. Stick Him behind a bale of stable hay when you don't feel like dealing with Him.
I know a few Felixes—people who won't commit. They say, "I'll think about Jesus later," never intending to think of Him at all. The Felixes of the world had better make up their minds, because one day they will have to give an account of what they did with God's Son. Their answer will mean the difference between heaven and hell.
One day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every knee.
Your knee. My knee. Every Felix's knee. I don't intend to wait for some future day to bow my knee„ I'm going to do it today. Begin now.
Jesus! I give You center stage in the stable of my heart! I confess Your name. I ask you to be the Lord of my life. That, my friend, is what I will do with Jesus.
What will you do with Jesus?*