Christmas is such a nice time of year. Nice music. Nice decorations. Nice family gatherings. Nice Black Friday shopping . . . well, scratch that one. But seriously, isn’t it all just really “nice”?
Some of us grew up going to “nice” church. Nice families (or at least they acted that way at church), really nice clothes, car washed Saturday so it would look nice in the church parking lot on Sunday…Everyone carrying their nice Bible…Everything was just really nice.
Sometimes I wonder how many of those folks will see heaven from the inside. How many of us are conformed to Christ such that we possess a truly saving faith? How many of us will Jesus claim to know on the day of reckoning?
Remember Tiny Tim? (Not the weird ukulele player who sang Tiptoe Through The Tulips on TV during the ‘60s’ and ‘70’s), but the little guy in Charles Dickens’ 1843 tale A Christmas Carol. We often think of the villain Ebenezer Scrooge as the main character of the story. For a moment, let’s focus instead on little Tim Cratchit.
Crippled from birth. Sickly and weak because his father worked for a miser and so couldn’t provide him with a warm enough home or proper medical care. And, by the time the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come visits to torment old Scrooge, passed away. Clearly Tiny Tim was one of “the least of these” referred to by Jesus.
Did Jesus come on that first Christmas for those of us who are “nice”? Or did he come for the Tim Cratchits of the world?
More and more I’m convinced that many of us who consider ourselves Christians will face profound disappointment when we stand to give a moral accounting of our lives. We’ll all come up short, of course, but when we turn in desperation and point to Jesus and say, “B-b-b-but he paid my penalty,” will he acknowledge that we are, in fact, one of his?
This I know for sure – that heaven will be filled with Tiny Tim’s. Those scorned by the world. The unwashed. The abused. The addicted. Those turned away because they weren’t “nice” enough to fit into our churches, but who had genuine faith in Jesus.
This Christmas season, seek out a Tiny Tim.
Look around the lobby on Sunday morning for someone who needs a friend to talk to and be their friend. Stop by Celebrate Recovery on a Wednesday evening and help wash dishes and stack chairs for those whose lives are wrecked by “hurts, habits and hang-ups.” Volunteer in our new Care Ministry clothing center. To borrow words from the late Chuck Colson, this Christmastime, fan the coal of your devotion to Christ by setting your life aflame with care for the least, the last, and the lost.
“God bless Us, Every One!”
Read and Discuss:
Matthew 7:21-23; 25:31-46
Luke 5:27-32; 18:10-14
I Peter 2:21
What is the clear emphasis in these passages?
How have you focused too much on being a ‘nice Christian’ instead of following the example of Jesus?
Watch the powerful conclusion to “A Christmas Carol” below: