If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. John 15:22 (NIV)
My favourite Christmas cards, for purely emotional reasons, are those made by family and friends. The Christmas card that best communicated the story about Christ’s birth was one that my personal assistant at SGM Canada, Heather Farrugia, created and gave to me in December 2007.
The most thought provoking Christmas card I’ve come across was titled, If Christ Had Not Come. It told the story of a pastor who, on Christmas Eve, had fallen asleep in his study while preparing his sermon for the Christmas Day service. In his sleep he dreamt of a world in which Christ had never come.
Looking through his home the pastor could find no stockings by the chimney, no bells or candles and no Advent wreath. Walking into the street he could see no church spires. He came back inside and went to sit down in his library, but every book about Christ, the church and the Christian faith had disappeared from the shelves.
Then the door-bell rang and a weeping child asked him to come and visit her dying mother. He rushed to the woman’s home and, sitting down at her bedside, said, “I’m going to read some words of comfort to you.” Opening the Bible he went to the back of the book only to discover it ended at Malachi. There was no New Testament, no Gospels, no good news of salvation in Christ Jesus, and no promise of life beyond the grave. Stripped of hope he bowed his head and wept in bitter despair.
The next scene in his dream saw him standing at the graveside beside the coffin of the mother who had died. He was conducting the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection and no mention of Heaven. There was just the pronouncement: “Dust to dust and ashes to ashes” followed by a long forlorn farewell. Overflowing with grief the pastor broke down, weeping pitifully.
Then, startled by the sound of nearby music, he woke up. A shout of joy and relief burst from his lips as he heard the choir singing in his church next door: “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels. O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”