The festive season

It’s Christmas. The festive season. The holidays… whatever people choose to call it. In South Africa we are slap bang in the middle of summer and because we live close to the coast many holiday makers drive through our town to get to their destinations. We are grateful for any money they choose to spend here because we don’t live in a financially prosperous are and there is a lot of unemployment and poverty. If we were a holiday destination things would be different, but as I already said, we are basically one of the little towns on the way. I think to some vacationers we represent an irritation because they have to slow down while passing through.

To Christians, Earth is a bit like our town. It is not a destination, but if you don’t stop over in (or on) it, you are never going to reach your destination, which is Heaven. Now, if heaven is going to be on earth, or somewhere in the sky, I have no idea. All I know is that it isn’t going to be anything like earth is at the moment.

Revelation 21:1-7, Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

That doesn’t sound like life as we know it now but what a wonderful thing to look forward to. We are on earth, we live on earth but we are merely passing though on the way to a better life. That is, if we fulfill the requirements and they are to have accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

Romans 10:9-10, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

We cannot be saved by doing good works. We cannot be saved by adhering to the law. We can only be saved by confessing Jesus to be our Lord. But what about all the hard times we go through while we are here on earth? What about all the unfairness and all the hate, crime, wars and suchlike? They are the trials that the bible says we are going to go through. We are going to be persecuted and we have to accept it. It is not going to help to get upset about it. I know that it’s easy to talk about it, but not that easy when it happens to us. I know the feeling of getting really indignant and hurt when someone unfairly slanders you. I also know what the right response is.

Matthew 5:43-48,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

That is the right way to handle it and there is no easy way out. We have to keep this in mind and always remember that we are travellers of a journey to a better life.