"Men's lives lead to certain ends." So says Ebenezer Scrooge while looking at his tombstone in the company of the Ghost of Christmas Future.
We were watching A Christmas Carol tonight and that line just jumped out at me. To that point the movie had presented a pretty secular version of Christmas, and I hadn’t expected it do any differently. That line jumped out at me, and when Scrooge said it the ghost nodded his head in the affirmative. And then Scrooge asked, "But if the lives change then the ends change?"
Whoa! Now that really got my attention! As a pastor I find myself saying something similar to Scrooge's words from the pulpit each week. Lives, of men and women do lead to certain ends, and absent Christ, those ends aren’t good. But if the lives change, through the saving work of Christ, then the ends change, and that is a change that is for the very best.
In Luke 1:32-33 the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary, telling her about the destiny of the son she will bear, saying,
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
In just a few days it will be Christmas, the day Christians celebrate as the birthday of Jesus. Jesus is the one Gabriel speaks of, and while we remember his birth we also need to remember where Gabriel points our vision.
Mary's son, Jesus, came and led a life of particular purpose and that led to a certain end. He gave His life to save sinners. He gave His life to save all who would call in faith on His Name. And because He did that two things follow.
The first is that all that Gabriel foretold about Him is fulfilled. He is the Son of the Most High and He has a kingdom that will have no end.
And the second is that because of the purpose for which He lived His life, the end for my life, the end for your life, can be changed. When we come to faith in Him we are joined to Him and are His forever.
When we come to Him and this life ends, as one day it most certainly will, we will be in the fullness of His kingdom, enjoying His presence, eternally.
As this Christmas comes may it be your joy to celebrate the birth of Jesus as Savior, as the one who has saved you. May you know in the purpose of His life the certain promise of future glory in His eternal presence. Amen
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.