ITS NOT OVER 12-30-18

It’s Not Over

December 30, 2018

There’s a common phrase that says, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings”.   I’m sure you’ve heard it, but do you know how it came to be an admonishment not to presume to know the end result of an event until it is over?  According to Wikipedia, it originated from a lengthy Wagner opera that is about the end of the world, and concludes with a solo by Brunnhilda.

As people start putting away their Christmas decorations, throwing out used wrapping paper and empty boxes – those of us with cats making sure there aren’t any hiding in those boxes – and vacuuming up the crumbs left from Christmas cookies; they think to themselves, it’s over… at least for another year.  

I know some people that live for Christmas.  People that literally can hardly wait for their favorite time of the year, and start putting up decorations earlier and earlier, just as stores start displaying them earlier and earlier as well, hoping to cash in on their obsession.  But then sadly the day comes when the inflatables get deflated, the trees lay dead and unadorned by the curb or in the burn pile, and twinkling lights no longer brighten the neighborhood.  For them it is a sad time indeed.

But for us it is only the beginning.  It is the beginning of a beautiful love story.  Yes, this story began long before our world was even created, in eternity past, and it will continue through all of eternity that for us is still future.  For Christmas isn’t about trees with tinsel, and Santa in his sleigh.  It isn’t about presents, and eggnog, and dashing through the snow.  No, Christmas is about God Almighty loving us in our miserable condition, wallowing in sin, destined for an eternity of darkness and despair.  Loving us when we didn’t deserve love, when we had turned our backs on him, and ruined everything.  Loving us enough to become one of us, in order to redeem us, cleanse us, and make it possible for us to once again be what God had originally intended us to be – children of God.

And so he took on human flesh and blood, born in a humble stable on that first Christmas.  But the story continued.  He was hunted by a king who wanted him dead, and scorned by the people he came to save.  But he healed those who came to him, taught those who listened, and showed us how to live. Then he suffered an excruciating death nailed to a cross to pay for our sins, even though he himself had committed none.

However, that was not the end either.  Because three days later he rose from the dead, defeating the power of death for us, making it possible that we also might defeat death, and live forever with Him.

And one day soon our Lord, Jesus Christ, will return for us, and take us to be with him, just as he promised in John 14:1-3, “ Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

But even that is not really the end, for what began on Christmas will last throughout eternity for all who have put their faith in Jesus!  It will be the end of the story for our lives here on earth, but the life we will have in heaven will be so much greater, that the grief we suffer here will seem inconsequential.  For even if we live to be 100, those years are not even a blink of an eye compared to eternity.  How sad that so many people never think beyond their brief existence here, and reject Christ in favor of transient earthly pleasures that are like King Solomon said, “…meaningless, like chasing after the wind”  (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

So while we will still have the decorations up until after Epiphany, when we celebrate the coming of the Magi to worship the newborn king, after that they will indeed get put away for another year.  But don’t let the post-holiday blues get you down.  We have so much more to look forward to!  We have an eternity free from pain - physical, mental, and spiritual.  An eternity in bodies that will never grow old or tired.  An eternity at peace with everyone and everything, in a land that is never dark, never cold, and forever beautiful.  It is indeed the greatest Christmas gift!  The Christmas gift that lasts forever!

Is the fat lady going to sing at the end of the world, like in Wagner’s opera?  I don’t know, but I do know that when this world comes to an end, there is a far better one that I am going to.  I hope you are, too!  Amen.

CLOSING VIDEO:  "What a Beautiful Name"  (Hillsong Worship)