Several years ago when our children were much younger (12, 10, 8, 5 & 4 years old), we piled the surfboards in the car and headed to the North Shore for a family day at the beach. The kids were excited to try out the new boards they had recently received for Christmas.
Towards the end of our day, we arrived at one final beach stop. The waves were good – not too big – and the beach was family friendly, perfect for younger kids learning to surf.
This particular beach consisted of two breaks: an inner break that was small and gentle and an outer break that was a little more challenging to navigate. What we didn’t know at the time was that an unseen channel existed between the two breaks and it was known to have a very strong current.
It was well after 4pm when Gregg and our three oldest children journeyed into the ocean. They were having a lot of fun – that is, until the conditions changed. Suddenly and without warning, the skies became overcast and ominous, and as the sun began to set, the gentle waves on the inner break suddenly turned more powerful, and the current became potent.
In fact, the current was so strong that it sucked my family into the outer break where the swell had dramatically increased. From the shore, I watched as the waves were breaking harshly on four of my family members, with the energy of the current dragging them further and further from shore!
I decided to do what I do very well – I panicked and freaked out. Yelling to them from the shore, while it created a lot of attention and drama, wasn’t very productive. They were stuck and unable to break away from the powerful surf on their own strength, so I ran to the lifeguards for help. They confirmed my concern and assured me that because the sun was quickly setting they would go in and rescue them right away.
However, as the lifeguards paddled out to save them, my kids were incredulous that someone would try to rescue them!
While Gregg saw the threat and didn’t know how he could lead all three of our kids safely to shore, the kids were having a great time and completely unaware of the danger they were in.
Even today if you were to ask my kids, they would ALL tell you that they still consider the lifeguard a nuisance.
They would tell you the lifeguard was ruining their fun.
They would tell you that the lifeguard was an inconvenience, interrupting their day at the beach.
They weren’t aware of their need to be rescued.
They didn’t see their need for a savior.
You see, when you don’t think you need to be rescued, the idea of a savior is a big “yawn”… a “sigh”… or maybe even boooooring.
For many people, this is how they view a relationship with God. They don’t see their need for it. Their experience with Christianity and following Jesus has been from the perspective that Jesus is trying to interfere with their life and ruin their fun.
But for those of us who have experienced the pull of life’s current,
For those of us who have been beaten by the swell of the waves,
For those of us who have been pulled under and tossed around on the ocean shore until we’re exhausted and sinking –
We understand the Christmas story in a compelling way.
God came to do for us what we are powerless to do for ourselves.
He sent Jesus, to rescue us.
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
God sent a Savior. Not a helper, not a life coach, not more rules or rigid expectations.
But until you come to grips with the fact that you need to be rescued, the idea of a Savior is an inconvenience, a “yawn”, someone who’s just trying to ruin your good time.
But for those who have truly embraced their brokenness and are conscious of what Jesus truly did for them, our response is much different.
It’s not, “I have to…” or “I need to…”
When we think of Jesus we experience an indescribable joy and unsolicited devotion. There is an appreciation and gratitude that extends beyond obligation because…
He saved me.
And that, my friend, is really good news of great joy for all people.
Have you experienced great joy because a Savior, Jesus, has rescued you? Take some time this Christmas to express your gratitude to God for His provision through Jesus.