Imagine, for a moment, that your friends decided to throw you a big birthday party. You knew who would be coming to your party, and where it would be. But when you arrive, you find the music so loud and your friends having such a good time that they can't hear or see you outside. As you press your face up against the glass, you see pictures of yourself on the tables. You overhear people telling stories about you. Everyone is having a great time while you're standing outside, pounding on the door. You can't get into your own birthday party!
As ridiculous as this may seem, it portrays our Christmas of today: Jesus is outside, trying to get in. I once read a true and tragic story about a wealthy couple in Boston who had a christening party for their new baby. They invited all of their friends and family to their magnificent home to celebrate the birth of their new child. About 30 minutes into the party, they made a tragic discovery. There was a large bedroom where everyone was placing their coats on the bed. Boston is very cold, and so everyone had an overcoat. They had piled their coats high on the bed, and they didn't realize until later that the little baby was lying underneath the coats. The baby had suffocated and died.
Sadly, Christmas can be that way as well. We'll set up our nativity sets, sing a few Christmas carols, do a little shopping, and decorate the tree. We can become involved in all kinds of activities and forget all about Jesus. In the busyness of the celebration, He is altogether forgotten. Yet His birth is so historically important that we divide human history by it: B.C. and A.D. His birth changed the world. Not only did His birth change the world; so did His death. That little baby grew into a man who went to a cross. Spikes were driven through His hands and feet. He shed His blood for the sin of all humanity. Then three days later, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, rose again from the dead. He is alive, and He is here, wanting to come into our lives. But we can miss Him.
So many miss Christmas because they allow other things to take His place. It might be money. It might be a career. It might be fame or pleasure or popularity. It might even be religion. A lot of us think Jesus will just stand on the doorstep of our lives and knock forever. Some may say, "Keep knocking. I'll get to you later." But if there was someone standing at your door, wanting to be invited into your home, don't you think that response would be a little offensive?
This is what we fail to understand. We think the gift of eternal life is something we can get around to when we're in the right mood — when we feel like it. But until then, we reject it and go on. Don't you realize that by refusing to say "yes" to Jesus, you're saying "no" to Him? Jesus is knocking. He wants you to open that door. He offers the gift of eternal life to you.
But you must reach out, take that gift, say "thank you," and enjoy it, because it's the only gift that keeps on giving. It will never go out of style. It will never get old. You'll never have to buy batteries for it.
God offers that gift of eternal life to you. Will you miss it, or will you take it? If you take this gift, it will be the most blessed Christmas you have ever experienced. Forget all the nonsense going on outside of your walls right now — all the noise, the hustle and bustle, the pressure, and the parties. Instead, think about that baby who was born in a stable in Bethlehem one cold night some 2,000 years ago. That baby grew into a man who died on the cross and rose again. He stands at the door and knocks. Will you let Him in? Don't miss Christmas this year. Don't miss Jesus this year. Make time for Him. Open the door and let Him in.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!