You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your servant — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Matthew 20:25-28
Don’t make any new resolutions until you keep the old ones.
The fame of some is counted across decades, while the careers of others are measured over ten, twenty, thirty, forty years… or more.
The influence of still others is measured in poetry or plays, Academy Awards, sports, famous battles, famous inventions, or great contributions to peace, or the sciences, or to human advancement.
But there is One Man, known throughout the entire world, who’s name has been spoken in every tongue, who has won more ground and minds than all the armies of all the nations across all the ages of the world.
And you can comfortably measure His ministry in months.
That’s it. 36 months.
That is only 1,095 days and the world has never been the same.
I am old enough now to realize people either adore Him or completely avoid Him. In my opinion the latter is the least sincere response to the Son of Man.
Fear is the natural response of the natural mind. The Man of whom we speak is both Us and Other… and that Other can be pretty intimidating, even frightening.
There comes a time one matures beyond hiding in the dusty but comfortable corners of one’s own mind: when we are finally able to think outside ourselves — beyond our senses, our pain, our fright, our personal catalog of betrayals and self-assurances.
Someone is knocking at the door of our heart. The mind can feel this gentle rapping, yes, this strange invitation, but it cannot comprehend it. It is both familiar and alien, simultaneously Us and Other.
So open the door…
And marvel at the Other Side of Life.
Today we celebrate the greatest life ever lived, laid down, and picked up again.
It is entirely appropriate that we do this.
Today should not be a peculiar mood. All the great and meaningful things this season reminds us to observe, we should observe every day. Yes, that’s difficult, but it is the highest mountain that has the best view.
Many of you respect, adore, and cherish the memory of great men and women — defenders, artists, writers, presidents, scholars, saints, explorers, scientists, kings — who themselves respected, adored, and cherished the Man for whom Christmas was named.
I submit if you want to know what made those heroes truly great, you must look past them, back through the centuries, to Bethlehem.
There, like today, you will find skepticism and wonder.
I invite you to consider the latter.
The Holy Bible says to work out your own salvation with “fear and trembling.”
Well, you can work out your own body the same way.