WARNING!!!!!! This is a challenging Word! If you are easily offended – DO NOT READ!!!!! You’ve been WARNED!
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas there are special songs, experiences, or situations that stand out causing us to pause and exclaim “Oh, what a great reminder of what Christmas is all about.” I listened to the song “Where’s the Line to See Jesus?” which drew this response on Facebook; “What a great song – such a great reminder of the meaning of Christmas!” This got me thinking about “reminders” and what we do with them. It seems when we are reminded about something, it lasts for a moment and rarely do we follow that reminder up with action. We may appreciate the reminder but then simply get on with our own activities and preparations for Christmas. Before reading the rest of the blog, take four minutes to listen and read the lyrics to this song!
Christmas time was approaching, the snow is starting to fall,
Shoppers choosing their presents, people filling the mall,
Children waiting for Santa with excitement and glee.
A little boy tugged my sweater, looked up and asked me,
(Chorus) Where’s the line to see Jesus? Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday, why don’t we see Him more?
Where’s the line to see Jesus? He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents, but Christ gave His life for me.
As I stood in amazement at this message profound,
I looked down to thank him, he was no where around.
The little boy at the mall might as well have had wings
As the tears filled my eyes, I thought I heard him say, (Chorus)
In the blink of an eye, at the sound of His trump,
We’ll all stand in line at His throne.
Every knee shall bow down, every tongue will confess,
That Jesus Christ is Lord. (Chorus)
At the time I heard this song I was in the midst of writing about our lack of devotion and focus on Jesus at Christmas even though we think He is the center of our attention. Of course we “say” He is the reason for the season but being the “reason” without giving Him our full attention is like Matthew 15:8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” We “fit” church into our busy Christmas schedules but look forward to getting on with our own plans. I continue to get this nagging feeling from the Spirit of God we are still missing His point in sending all the “reminders”.
When I heard the title of this song before actually listening to it, my thoughts immediately went to “Where is the line to see Jesus?” in the context of priorities. I saw it as a question of where is the line where we no longer see Jesus in the midst of family get-togethers, baking, shopping, gift giving, and all the other activities that consume our time and energy during the Christmas season. Obviously that is not the context of the song but I still think it is an appropriate question to ask or perhaps we can reword it this way “Where is the line where we no longer see Jesus?” The follow-up question would be “How close do we want to get to that line?” I think by not acting on the “reminders” at Christmas we are toying with that line. In other words, if we receive the reminder but then get on with our activities or rationalize why we celebrate the way we do, where is the line where we will no longer “know” Jesus is the reason we even celebrate life?
What is the purpose of a reminder? One definition places the emphasis on a simple “remembrance” as it conveys a message to remind somebody of someone or something. It is more of a monument or memorial of what someone did. Memorial Day services are good “reminders” of men and women sacrificing their lives to protect us. Thanksgiving Day is a good “reminder” of how God provides for His people, and a “reminder” of the sacrifice the pilgrims made when they came to settle in America. Or we remember when our children were young or do you remember that time when….. I think this is how we view Jesus most often at Christmas. We are thankful for songs, or poems, or special events that “remind” us the whole purpose for celebrating Christmas is because of what God did for us in sending His Son Jesus, as a baby in the manger at Bethlehem. But we stop right there and only “remember”.
The other sense of the word “reminder” is when somebody or something is sent to remind us about somebody or something. In this scenario we are minded to DO something. We are sent “reminders” when bills are due. We ask people to “remind” us what we need to pick up at the store. We write out “reminders” to ourselves about birthdays, anniversaries, or other special events we do not want to forget. The reminder is meant to spur us to action; to “DO” something as a result of being reminded. This is the message I believe Holy Spirit is delivering repeatedly during the Christmas season. “Where is the line to see Jesus?” is a question that demands a response not just a reminder.
The writer of this song wrote it by inspiration from his grandson saying these words to him one Christmas. But Holy Spirit gave me a multi-dimensional download of spiritual truths through the song and video. I believe the song delivers a prophetic message through the little boy and it goes deep into our spirits if we will listen. Christian parents have the responsibility of raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, always being truthful and living in truth not just “saying” it. Christmas is a perfect time to practice our truthfulness and live it out. We give mixed messages to our children when we say Jesus is the reason for the season but the majority of our time is spent doing all the secular things that surround the Christmas season. We give the same mixed message if we go to church once a week but our faith is non-existent in every other area of life. You see, we “talk” about Jesus but we “experience” Santa, parades, shopping trips, and the like. If Santa is awesome what is Jesus? Gift giving is great but where is Jesus in all of it? Family gatherings are memorable but is Jesus present? When are we going to position our children to experience Jesus? Where is the line to see Jesus?
The little boy in the song disappears. I think this signifies two things. The first is very somber. We will lose our children to the world if we do not help them get in line to see Jesus instead of Santa and all the other lines we find ourselves in. We must take this responsibility seriously and stop tainting Christmas with the world’s influence or we will lose our children. I know people may accuse me of being a Scrooge by dismissing all the glitter of the season. However, I think Jesus is much more fun than Santa and we can celebrate more vociferously with Jesus than with the world. I think we act as though Jesus is the “consolation prize” if we were to choose Him over the secular celebrations. I think we act as though by celebrating Him alone it is a step down instead of a step up!
The other significant truth in the boy’s disappearance is an inference of angelic messengers. The Bible gives evidence God sent messages through angels and since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever He still sends angelic messengers. Just as we receive reminders, we are to receive these messengers. BUT, we are to do something with the message that is given. The boy disappears and then reappears in the video, as though an angel is following the lady around reminding and checking up on her to see if she “is getting” the message. Do we get the message?
This song might bring tears to your eyes but if that is all it does, if it is just a great reminder, then we will miss answering the questions. We will see the questions but not feel obligated to answer them. Where is the line? Are we going to start forming a line? Are we going to put our time, effort, and gifts to work towards honoring the One for whom we celebrate? Are we going to bow down in love and adoration and then purpose to see Him more? Will our Christmas be different if we receive this message from an angel sent from heaven to communicate truth to us? The questions from the song are: Where is the line to see Jesus? Is He at the store? Since it is His birthday why don’t we see Him more? These are easy questions if we see them as simple reminders to focus on Jesus more during the Christmas season. We pacify ourselves by “remembering” Jesus. But they are tough questions if we see they demand an active response for change. It might mean we need to stop doing our own thing and start doing His thing.
And then of course we are faced with the stark reality of where IS the line to see Jesus? We will stand in line at Christmas and other times of the year to buy gifts, go to concerts and athletic events, get on rides, get into airplanes, or sit on Santa’s lap and have our picture taken! So where is the line to see Jesus? Listen to unbelievers these days! They can’t see Jesus and we are doing little to show them Jesus because we are as wrapped up in the world as they are. We think a kind word or deed here or there will “show” them Jesus when in fact all that does is fuel their disgust, and humor them as we continue to say we are in love with Jesus and then freely partake of all the world has to offer during the Christmas season. Again, I know this sounds crude and a bit like Grinch, but if you have any contact with unbelievers, or shall we prayerfully call them pre-Christians, you will see they consider Christians to be hypocrites, because we say it is all about Jesus, but our actions say otherwise.
When Jesus walked the face of this earth people clamored to “see” Him. Zacchaeus was an unbeliever but when he heard Jesus was passing by, he just “HAD” to see Him. Luke 19:3 says “Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.” So desperate was he to see Jesus he climbed up in a sycamore tree and when he did, Jesus spotted him, told him to come down, and Zacchaeus came down and received Jesus joyfully. As a result of seeing Jesus Zacchaeus’ life changed dramatically. He was a tax collector and had taken more than his share from people. After seeing Jesus he gave back to everyone he had stolen from four times as much. When Jesus passes by are we willing to do ANYTHING to get in line to see Him? And then, once we see Him, are we willing to invite Him in to our house, eat with us, and change our lives? It seems to me IF Jesus is the reason for the season then He must be passing by at Christmas therefore His passing should be more than a reminder!
In Luke 2 we have the beautiful story of the birth of Jesus! Where is the line to see Jesus? Verse 15 “So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Verse 17 “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.” Verse 20 “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” Verse 26 “And it had been revealed to him (Simeon) by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Verse 30 “For my eyes have seen Your salvation”. Lives were changed after seeing Jesus; Zacchaeus, the shepherds, Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna, and us who have seen Him. Why does it seem that today after our lives are changed, we go back to living life on our terms rather than His? Is it enough to see only Jesus at Christmas or must we have more?
Perhaps this is my own personal struggle or perhaps there are others out there who feel this pulling to understand more fully what it means to see Jesus at Christmas, not simply as a memorial but as a prompt to action. I won’t pretend to have all the answers. But I surely want to do more than simply be reminded about the real meaning of Christmas. I want to stop doing my thing and do His thing! I want to form a line to see Jesus in the store, in the mall, in the workplace, and even at Church. I think I will start again with my own family and grandchildren, start forming the line to see Jesus! Imagine what we will see when we get to the front of the line! I think this is something worth pushing and shoving for! But wait! The first shall be last and the last shall be first. I guess being in the right line is the important thing! Amen? Amen!