Christmas is on the Top of a Steep Hill

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

There is no more exciting world than the world of children. Charles Schulz, in his Peanut cartoons, perceives and probes that world in a marvelous way. One year during the Christmas season, he put into drawing and dialogue one of those common exchanges between children that has deep and uncommon meaning. Sally asked Charlie Brown, “Is it Christmas yet?” “Four more days,” responds Charlie Brown. “How come it takes so long?” Sally wants to know. Without even looking up from the TV, Charlie Brown gets off one of those off-the-cuff philosophical statements that one can chew on all day. “Christmas is on the top of steep hill,” he said, “and the closer you get to it, the steeper the hill is.” 

As I reflect, I conclude Charlie Brown is right. The birth of Jesus was on the top of steep hill, not literally, though Bethlehem is on a hill. Men had longed and prayed for the Messiah. The years of sorrow and suffering, darkness and death had dragged endlessly on. Through the prophets, God kept telling them that “in the fullness of time,” the Messiah would come. 

That time came, and Jesus was born. He said he would come, and he did. He came to give us life, and he promised to come again to fully establish his Kingdom with his followers living with him eternally. 

He will keep that promise. I want to solidly lodge two sentences in your mind for your reflection and action as you stay ready for his coming. Let this be the hill you climb as Christmas comes and your celebration will be as joyful as the children. First, we have plenty of everything, except what we need to make what we have worthwhile. Spend a few minutes pondering that before you read further………….. 

The second word: The best we have without Christ is not enough for salvation, not enough to give us abundant life. We need a Messiah, a savior, a life giver. Christmas is on the top of a steep hill of acknowledging our need. When we acknowledge that all of our getting and spending, our accumulation of things, the way we excuse our selfishness and efforts at self-justification, the way we go about trying to rationalize our un-involvement with the needs of the world, the way we seek salvation in so many places. 

When we realize that all this is futile, and wait and pray in expectation and openness, then we will see the salvation of the Lord. ‘Until he comes again, by his grace we can move from one degree of glory to another. 

-Maxie Dunnam