By Ron Hutchcraft
A lot of us have it just about memorized - that Christmas classic, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Maybe you even hear that familiar piano theme in your mind now. Charlie's efforts to find the meaning of Christmas are, of course, repeatedly frustrated by Lucy's big mouth and Snoopy's garishly decorated doghouse. But then there's Linus on stage, in the spotlight, reciting the story of the first Christmas from the Bible.
And there’s also Charlie Brown's memorable Christmas tree! The last tree on the lot - bedraggled, broken, and pitiful. But Charlie insists on giving that miserable little tree his tender loving care. And by the end, that tree, fully decorated, has become the beautiful center of the whole gang's Christmas celebration.
It's amazing how a broken tree can become special with some tender, loving care; or more importantly, a broken person. With all the joy of the Christmas season, it could also be a time that reopens a lot of old wounds for you; a time that intensifies the loneliness and highlights the broken parts of your life.
And yet there's hope in that simple birth announcement the angels made the night Jesus arrived on earth, "A Savior has been born to you." A savior! Well, that's a rescuer - like the emergency workers who rescued people from the rubble of the World Trade Center towers. Jesus has, in fact, been pulling people out of the rubble for 2,000 years, and He stands ready this Christmas day to do that for you.
His invitation is recorded in Matthew 11:28, and it is hope for a hurting heart. Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." "Come to Me." Now, that's Jesus' gentle invitation to you this Christmas Day. Come to Him for things that no one else has ever been able to do for you; things that no one on earth can do for you.
Like beginning the healing of your broken heart. The Bible says of the Lord, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." His unconditional love for you, the value He gives you, the emotional safety He provides - they provide a healing harbor for your life. Jesus' "Come to Me" invitation is also an invitation to come to be forgiven.
Ultimately, what's broken us is the sinning that's been done against us and the sinning that we've done against others - and, most of all, against God. That's why we need a Savior, a Rescuer. We've hijacked our life from our Creator. We've lived it the way we wanted to live it instead of the way He wanted us to. And that's put us in an orbit far from His love and far from His purpose. In a word, the Bible calls it "lost."
But that's why that baby came to Bethlehem. That's why Jesus went to that horrific cross to die. He was paying the penalty for every wrong thing you and I have ever done. So He could forgive you and erase every sin from God's book, which means you could go to heaven when you die. He loves you so much He gave His life so you could be with Him forever. And then He came back from His grave to prove He's got the power to deliver on all His promises.
Charlie Brown's love made something special out of a broken tree. Jesus' love for you led Him to be broken for you on the tree where He died so you could have a brand new beginning. This is a great time of year to finally give yourself to the One who gave Himself for you; to find the One you've been looking for your whole life.
If you're ready to bring the sin and the broken pieces of a lifetime to Jesus and begin your personal relationship with Him, would you tell Him that? Tell Him today, "Jesus, you came for me. I'm Yours."
I hope you'll go to our website if you're at that point - ANewStory.com. It's helped others understand how to begin their relationship with this Jesus.
This could be your first Christmas with Christ in your heart. It's time for you to experience for yourself this most awesome love in the universe. That tug you're feeling in your heart? That's Jesus extending His invitation to you, "Come to Me this Christmas Day."