(Jesus said) "If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19
Yes, I know Christmas is past, but I pray you will indulge me in this story. It was simply too good not to share, and I promise it will probably be the last.
It begins with the children from the church Sunday school making their annual presentation of the Christmas story. Parents were proud. Grandparents were sentimental as they reminisced about Christmases past.
All had gone well with the service, until ... there is always an "until" in a children's Christmas presentation.
All had gone well, until they reached that point in time when they wanted to show the holiness of the newborn Savior. Mary and Joseph looked suitably spiritual. The shepherds had hit their marks and were on their knees in a position of worship.
It was at that moment -- that one right moment -- the student who controlled all the lights was to turn off all the switches, but one. That single switch which was to remain on controlled a small light bulb placed in the manger.
It was hoped that single light emanating from the manger would be most impressive for the folks who were watching. That's what was supposed to happen. Unfortunately, the boy who was to turn off all the lights, but one, got rattled and hit all the switches. The congregation, thrown into pitch blackness, sat in stunned silence.
That's when one of the shepherds, a third-grader, said in a whisper that carried through the entire church, "Hey! You switched off Jesus!"
For the boy, switching off Jesus was an accident.
That is not the case for a great many religions and governments that deliberately -- and defiantly -- switch off the Savior who gave His life on the cross, so humanity might have eternal life.
That's not the way it is for many individuals who, having been disappointed in a pastor or a parish or a meeting or the way money is being spent, decide to turn off Jesus.
Now, I suppose it's okay if you want to be upset with institutions and individuals, but to be upset with Jesus who gave His life so all who believe might be given life, is going too far.
Don't throw that last switch. Don't turn off Jesus. If you do, someday you will find the darkness to be oppressive.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I pray for those who have thrown off that final switch. May they open their eyes and realize the light is better than the darkness. To follow the Savior is far better than wandering in the blackness of unbelief. Even as I pray for them, I also pray for those who are in the light. Keep them safe, secure and brighten the path they must travel. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries