Down To The Felt

Gambling2The gambler looks for his chips and sees nothing but the vast green top of the blackjack table. He’s got nothing left, no chips, no more markers, no money, no hope. He’s down to the felt. He’s lost everything.

Our Christmas series at Remnant was called, “God’s Big Gamble.” If you think about it, the whole Christmas story seems like one big roll of the dice. Everything about how Jesus came to this earth is different than you or I would have done it.

Don’t you think the King of Kings would be born in a palace? Nope, some nondescript stable.

His birth would be announced to the upper crust of society first, right? Nope, a bunch of smelly shepherds.

God doesn’t gamble, that first Christmas took place exactly as he wanted it to, it was all according to plan. But what if it had never happened? Imagine how different our world would be if Jesus had never been born.

Without Jesus, we wouldn’t understand that God loves each of us, and offers us a chance not just at heaven, but at a better life here on the earth.

We would never have heard the words:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10

But Jesus did come, he was born in that stable. And because of that, everything is different.

At Christmas we celebrate a God who cared enough to come to our level, to live like us and be one of us. Jesus was the friend of sinners and people with failures. He showed love and compassion to the outcasts of the world. He came to offer us a way to be forgiven.
Think of the worst thing you have ever done, the thing that brings you the most shame. Now imagine knowing that you were free of that shame. Imagine knowing that your sins were not just forgiven, but never remembered ever again. That’s why Jesus came. Because of that little baby born in a stable, we can know the freedom that forgiveness brings.

Because of Jesus, we can take courage in the words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” John 3:16-17

Because Jesus came, we have the hope of heaven. The funeral of a Christian can be full of hope and the anticipation of a future reunion, not dread and emptiness. Instead of cold reality of the closing of the coffin lid and the coldness of the grave, we have the knowledge that one day we will see them again.

Christmas means that Christ has given us the gift of life and heaven. The birth of Jesus ushered in a new way of living, a new hope for the hopeless, and a new future for those who love him.

In the end, Christmas wasn’t a gamble at all, it was God’s way of showing us how much he loves us. It was God’s way of saying, “I know you’re hurting and empty, here’s how you can fix that.” What better gift can you ask for?
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Merry Christmas… Jerry