Perspective is important. Most of us can relate to age differences. If you ask a three-year-old how old he is, what does he say? "Three but going on four." If you ask a thirteen-year-old how old he is, he says thirteen going on fourteen. Or a two-year-old would respond, "I'm going on the potty." But it changes. A fifty-six-year-old doesn't say "I'm fifty-six going on fifty-seven." It's "I just turned fifty-six." Our perspective changes.
In fact, I heard of a fifteen-year-old going on sixteen whose dad would not let her date until she was sixteen. When the Incredible Hulk of the class asked her out she begged her dad to let her go, but he said not until she was sixteen. She was really ticked and asked her dad, "Do you believe in the Second Coming of Christ?" When he responded that he did, she told him that she was praying that Christ would come before her sixteenth birthday so he would have to spend the rest of eternity with a daughter who never had a date.
Let's talk about how we view life. A pilot told the passengers that he could not land because of low visibility. When asked what that meant, he said that when he got under the clouds he saw that the airport was not there. Has there been a defining moment in your life in which you understood or saw things a little more clearly?
NFL-great Bob Kuechenberg's dad helped him with his decision about college. Newsweek magazine described their conversation. "My father and uncle were human cannonballs in carnivals. My father told me to go to college or be a cannonball. Then one day my uncle came out of the cannon, missed the net, and hit the Ferris wheel. That day I decided to go to college." That was a defining moment. He saw things clearly.
The Bible uses the word "enlightenment" from which we get the word "photo." God "lightens" up something that we have never seen before. We live in a knowledgeable country. The ancient Egyptian culture was probably the most knowledgeable, intellectual society of its time, but they worshipped bugs — sacred beetles. Rational thinking will tell you that there is a God, but it will not tell what God is like or who God is. Only enlightenment will do that.
What if you went to a concert of your favorite singer, but he did not appear. Instead, you were handed charts of all the songs. They spared no expense in using sophisticated sonic equipment to accurately chart each song. You would have knowledge of the singer's songs, but no revelation about what the singer is like personally.
Now, let's look at something we all can relate to — food. Taste buds can be described anatomically, and food can be reduced to a chemical equation. A scientist could give me a scientific equation of hot Krispy Kreme donuts. I would say NO, NO, NO, I want to experience this chemical equation. No equation can do justice to fried sugar — you have to experience it.
There was a psychological experiment in which doctors placed twelve- to fourteen-month-old babies on one side of the room and their mothers on the other side. The doctors placed a long piece of glass on a checkered tablecloth. Halfway along the sheet of glass the tablecloth stopped. Even though the glass continued on, it created the illusion of the edge of a table dropping off. Then they watched the babies as they crawled toward their mothers who were holding a toy. Some of the babies stopped at the edge of the tablecloth and others continued toward their moms. What they discovered was that the babies whose moms had a puzzled or perplexed look stopped at the perceived cliff, and the babies whose moms were smiling to encourage them continued on. The moms' facial expressions said, "Come on, you can do it."
That's how life is. Many people see God as a distant deity who is puzzled and perplexed and wondering what to do next. They may know Him rationally, but they don't understand who He is, and they stop in the midst of difficulties and cry. However, the ones who have experienced God see His smiling face and continue crawling beyond the cliffs of life.
The bottom line is that God does not become powerful in your life until He becomes personal. That is what Christmas is about. If someone donated a million dollars to your church, that would be good news. If someone donates a million dollars to my ministry, that is great joy. It becomes powerful when it becomes personal.
This year instead of talking about or learning more about Christmas, why don't you experience it? I believe this experience will bring great joy and become one of those defining moments when you begin to see things differently.
Editor's Note: Comic Belief by Charles Lowery includes many of his most popular SBC LIFE articles and would make an excellent Christmas gift. It is available at www.charleslowery.com.