Life is full of many choices. At Christmas time - perhaps especially at Christmas time - we can find ourselves walking round and round a shopping centre getting nowhere.
You would think we were casing out a new car, deciding on a new house, weighing up a new job... And yet it can be pointless, mindless time - wasted and achieving nothing.
There are choices that are much more significant than that. Perhaps you recall a time when someone special had come into your life. Was this the person you should marry? How do I broach the subject? Could I face rejection? Is the other person thinking what I am thinking? For some there may have been a pacing up and down, summoning up courage to propose…
That is certainly how it used to be – and still is for more young people than we are given to believe. I have had couples say, "We aren't sure why we are getting married. We thought it about time we got the piece of paper." That is not a sound basis for long-term commitment, and we should be quite direct and loving in saying so. We want to be sensitive and not hurt people. But there are a lot of people hurting out there. Their relationship was on shaky foundations and didn't make it.
Yet not even marriage is "the choice of your life."
Two thousand years ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Humble shepherds and the wealthy wise came to offer worship and gifts. But for Herod, this baby posed a threat to his grasp on power and he tried to eliminate him – killing all the baby boys in Bethlehem two years and under. Herod missed the choice of his life.
Jesus sent out his disciples two by two to the villages he would be passing through. Even if they were not made welcome, the people were to know that the Kingdom of God had come near to them. They had missed the choice of their life.
Bruised and beaten, nailed to a cross, enduring unspeakable agony, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them! They don't know what they're doing!"
How do we respond to such love? Don't miss out on the choice of your life!
© Peter J. Blackburn, Buderim Notes and News, December 1999