By DANNY MINTON
We live in a world that has forgotten. I recently viewed a television show where a man in his nineties sat across the table from a younger man and woman, probably in their thirties. He blurted out, “Can you tell me when Pearl Harbor was attacked?” The couple sat dumbfounded, unable to answer. Many younger people today probably don’t even know what Pearl Harbor represents. World War II, Vietnam, Korea, 9/11, and even “Desert Storm” are fading and lost memories. We no longer hear about life during the Dust Bowl, Depression, Holocaust, and the generations that struggled to keep our country healthy.
We live in a world that has forgotten. The Israelites spent forty years in the wilderness, freed from a life of bondage and slavery. God told them not to forget what he did for them. He gave them reminders to teach their children from generation to generation. Thousands of years later, we find Jesus and those Jews in his time practicing those rituals to remember. Now, nearly two thousand years later, the Jewish faith continues to practice the rituals. They are continual reminders of how God helped the Jewish nation thousands of years before they were born. We know a handful of names, but the point centers around what God did, more than the individuals. God did not want the people ever to forget. Passover, Yom Kippur, Tisha B’av, and others remind them of their past and how God has always been there through times of trouble.
We live in a world that has forgotten. As a Christian, we remember Jesus and what he did for mankind throughout the ages. The most important event to us is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We commemorate this in our remembering his sacrifice through communion. During what we call “The Last Supper,” he told his disciples that the bread and cup represented what he was doing for all men and women. “Do this in remembrance of me.” Different groups offer communion in various ways, but all are done to remember Jesus.
We live in a world that has forgotten. Today’s world, much like they have forgotten the events of the past, seemed to be slowly forgetting how God and Jesus should be a part of our lives. God’s word to many is no longer relevant. The “rituals” meant to remind us of how we have been cared for over the years lie quietly in the lives of so many, seeing them as meaningless and unnecessary. The results have become a world that finds more and more no longer believing and many who do believe forgetting what it means to live a life worthy of what God has done for men, women, and children through the ages. A world without God becomes a dark place of existence.
We live in a world that has forgotten, but hope remains. It happened before, a dark world that saw the light. One of my wife’s and my favorite songs can be heard in the background of movies this time of year. It is a song, unfortunately, that only makes its appearance during the Christmas season. Performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the message is simple and lifts hope in our hearts that the world can see the light again if we open our eyes. The words of each verse remind us of how “The Story” of hope began. You can find the song at this site. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cP26ndrmtg
The hope that He Brings
This night, we pray, our lives, will show
This dream, He had, each child, still knows
We are waiting; we have not forgotten
On this night
On this very Christmas night
Today we have an opportunity. We can help the world not forget what it means to have hope and be people of faith. Jesus showed a world that had forgotten what it meant to be people of love and compassion, even with those who hated Him. Wherever he went, he spread the compassion of God. He let people know that God loves them, and light still shone in the darkness of sin. Jesus shared that we reach people not with hate or anger or verbal fights, but by simply sharing the way to being “Holy.”
When people see us, what do they see? Do they see a person who exhibits hate? Do they see someone who shows anger and contempt for others? Does our presence on social media show an example of what it means to be Jesus? Do our co-workers see Jesus? Do our friends see Jesus? Do the waiter, the bank teller, the store clerk, our neighbors, and the person we pass on the street or bump into at a store see Jesus? In a world of turmoil, don’t forget Jesus. He is our only hope. Remember, the only way people will see Him is through us. Through our lives, we help people to see there is hope.
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ