“When we see Jesus as he is, we must turn away or else shamelessly adore him. That must be kept in mind for any authentic understanding of the power of Christian faith.”
This quote, from Dallas Willard’s book, “The Divine Conspiracy,” challenged me the moment I read it this week. There is no better time to remind ourselves of what it means to shamelessly adore Jesus than at Christmas. I’m convicted this week that shameless adoration becomes most possible when we truly grasp what our lives would be like if He had not yet been born.
5 minutes before His birth, the world was completely different.
It’s so easy to forget this, because all we know living in the second millennium AD is a post-Jesus world. But just a few minutes before the event we celebrate this week, the world looked very different.
How Jesus’ birth changed the world is a highly relevant and topical discussion to have with your kids this Christmas. Here’s a good (and simple!) analogy you can use to help them understand the deeper meaning of Jesus’ birth.
Ask your kids how things look different when they put on a pair of 3D glasses to look at a picture.
Here are some talking points for relating this to a basic understanding of how Jesus’ birth changed the world.
3D glasses change how you see because…
1. Important parts of the picture come forward and less important parts of the picture fall to the back.
This is the first thing you notice when you put on a pair of 3D glasses. In a flat picture, it’s up to the viewer to decide what’s most important. 3D glasses translate the flat picture into one that emphasizes some parts and de-emphasizes others.
Before Jesus was born, the religious experts of the time, the Pharisees, had a lot of things wrong. They had added a lot of their own rules and interpretations to the laws God had given hundreds of years before.
But after Jesus was born, we gained the witness of His life to tell us what is important and what is not. Jesus, being God Himself, was uniquely able to set the Pharisees – and ultimately us – straight. Living a life that glorifies God comes “forward” in our view while the material world falls to the background. Not only do we now know that glorifying God is most important in life, we now know what glorifies God and what does not.
2. They give the picture richer details.
3D glasses transform a flat picture into one with depth. The details are richer, and the picture becomes alive!
Before Jesus was born, God had not fully revealed His plan for salvation of all people. The world only had part of the picture of who God is and how He relates to people.
But after Jesus was born, we were given some new and critical details that give our lives their fuller meaning. Now we know that God offers salvation to anyone who believes in Jesus as their Savior (this is a good chance to read John 3:16)!
3. They make the picture more tangible.
In the Captain EO 3D film at Disneyland, there is a little furry creature who jumps out so realistically, everyone in the audience starts petting him in the air. If you lift your glasses and see him on the flat screen, you would never think to reach out and touch him. The glasses bring him close.
Before Jesus was born, following God meant following the Law – a set of very strict rules related to worship.
But after Jesus was born, God came close. Through Jesus, we have been given the opportunity to enter into a relationship with God that wasn’t possible before. But just as you have to put on the right glasses for the little furry guy to come close to you during Captain EO, you have to build a relationship with Jesus through prayer and worship for Him to become tangible in your life. Christmas made that possible.
Merry Christmas to you and your families! May we all teach our children to shamelessly adore Jesus throughout 2013.