|Epiphany, by Giotto, circa 1320|
|And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:19|
All through my early adulthood, I attended church at times on Christmas Day, because that's what you did. The Christmas season held opposing emotions for me, at one side I enjoyed the Christmas Carol "O Come All Ye Faithful", singing it with gusto. At the other hand, I was insulted by things religious. My freshman Philosophy class at State University was held in a room containing a crucifix on the wall. I hated the crucifix. I stared at it and cursed it, wanting to alert the ACLU that there were state funds being spent in a place that had religion in it. Yet for Christmas break I'd happily drive home, go to church, and sing 'O Come All Ye Faithful, Come let us adore Him'. Who did I think I was singing about?
I can see so well the work the Spirit did to keep my heart open to His truth, until the day when eventually my salvation met up with the destiny God had known about since the foundation of the world.
He pursues you, too. But here's the thing: He doesn't beg and He doesn't pursue you forever. He stands at the door and knocks (Luke 12:36; Rev 3:20). He doesn't burst in and He doesn't capture you. He is polite. He knocks. But He will not strive with man's spirit forever. (Genesis 6:3). At some point, the point at which He knows that you will not answer the knock, He graciously gives you your heart's desire: to be left alone in your sin. (Rom 1:24; Rom 1:26; Rom 1:28; Acts 19:9; John 12:40). He withdraws His spirit and gives you over to your sin.
Gen 6:3 says "Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years" and the writer of the Geneva Study Bible explains: "Because man could not by won by God's leniency and patience by which he tried to win him, he would no longer withhold his vengeance." Do not be so vain as to think He will chase you forever, pleading with you and begging you to open the door. He won't.
What a merry Christmas it would be for you to allow the Spirit's pursuit to catch up with you and to fold you into Glory with millions of others who opened the door to His offer of salvation.
Peace be with you.