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Five Days and Counting…When the Real is Substituted by the Illusory

Two weeks ago I read in a Kenyan Newspaper about billionaire Bill Gates’ visit to the Kenyan town of Eldoret. The town lies about fifty miles from the village where I grew up. He was there to check on the projects of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When he came to town, he entered one small pharmacy and went about looking at the various anti-malaria medications they had on sale and then left incognito.

Whereas if it was in the United States most Americans might have recognized him and maybe tried to catch his attention, no one in the Kenyan store or street did. He went about his business in the store like any ordinary person would without anyone turning their heads.

It was only when he requested to speak with the store owner and gave his name that the store clerks realized that he might be some important person. All the while, he mingled with the Kenyan people without anyone of them realizing that they were mingling with a multi-billionaire whose net worth is twice the size of Kenya’s GDP and if providence were to allow, would wipe away their poverty of substance in an instant.

The apostle John tells us that Jesus’ coming on earth was one such event. He says concerning Jesus: “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:9-11).

Not that Jesus’ advent was unexpected. Indeed, prophet after prophet since Moses had spoken of the coming of Israel’s deliverer. By 4 B.C. when Christ is born, many expected the Messiah to come any time. Any unusual personality who appeared within the nation was likely to be regarded as a potential Messiah. There was spiritual, cultural, and political consciousness to the coming of the Messiah.

Which then leaves us wondering how come, given such consciousness, Jesus the true Light that manifested God’s righteousness could be missed. He was the true Light of the world, not the secondary light such as was provided by the Law and the Prophets. He was the original Light of which all others are feeble copies. He was the real and not the illusory. Yet most of humanity missed Him.

The answer must lie in humanity’s expectations. Indeed, many had different and varying expectations of what the Messiah would do or look like. The Jews looked forward to a political and cultural emancipator. The rest of humanity was largely oblivious to the cosmic implications of His birth and vicarious life. Overall, both Jew and Gentile missed one of the greatest moments in the history of humanity.

Fast forward to today. Christ the true Light of the world has come. Yet most of us are pre-occupied with the illusory rather than the real. We are busy with shopping, with setting up the most spectacular Christmas lights, with partying. In the meantime we pay little attention the true Light of the world Himself. Our culture would rather ignore Him and if possible banish Him from our consciousness, substituted by all things material. His grand mission of reconciling the world to God and man to fellow man is forgotten.

One of the things that my wife and I enjoy during this Christmas season is to drive around our neighborhood after sunset and look at all the different lights. Add the white snow in the background and what you have are spectacular views and we love it. We wonder, however, how many people in these spectacularly lit homes have the same passion for He who is the true Light of the World. We wonder how many have received Him at their fellowship table. We wonder how many recognize Him for who He truly is…the Eternal God come in human flesh.

For those of us who have Christ and share the passion of lighting spectacular Christmas lights, do we demonstrate the same passion in lighting the Light of Christ’s Gospel to the whole world? Maybe this is a good question for us all to ponder. For when all is said and done, Christmas is about Christ and the Mission He came to accomplish, which is the Salvation of all humanity.

And now for an update on our SWIM end of year Accelerate 2010 gift Campaign: This being our second of the six-day campaign, we thank God for the good start. Our goal is to raise a significant portion of our first quarter budget for 2010 which is $ 45,000. So far, we are nearing the 10% mark. We request you to continue praying with us over the next five days. We currently have a matching gift offer of $ 3000. Please pray that some people will step forward to provide the match.

Luke 1:46-50 “And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave. For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.”


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