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Thought for the weekend: On the day when Jesus comes again, there can be no neutrality

By Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast

Are you a Christmas person? Are you looking forward to tomorrow? Some people will be beside themselves with excitement tonight and quite unable to sleep.

This is an understandable reaction in young children, but even for some adults Christmas is the highlight of their year and today, Christmas Eve, simply cannot pass fast enough.

Of course, there are others who feel quite differently. Tomorrow will involve a family gathering that could be quite tense or difficult. Presents have been bought, but money is scarce and a big debt has been accumulated. Christmas is not a time of joy, but a season of tension and financial difficulty.

Between these contrasting attitudes there are the many people who are indifferent to the whole business. They enjoy their turkey, are glad to receive the cards and appreciate some days off work, but are frustrated by the constant traffic jams and moan much about the cost of the food and the gifts.

As we think back to the first Christmas, these different reactions were clearly seen at that time. Herod hated Jesus, while the Wise Men came to worship him. But the majority of the citizens of Bethlehem and Judah were quite unmoved, totally unaffected, by the birth of Jesus. His Coming into the world simply passed them by.

When you think about it, that's how things are today. Some people have no time for Jesus and utterly reject him. Others, by God's grace, have come to know him and love him. Many, however, are simply apathetic. They rarely think about Jesus. They are uninvolved with him.

This is a risky position to be in. One day Jesus will come again in his power and glory and "Every eye will see him" - all mankind will appear before him. On that day there can be no neutrality. We will stand on his right-hand side as those who love him or else stand on his left hand side as those who reject him (Matthew25:31-46).

It's vital that now, while there is time, we turn from our sin and trust in him as our Saviour. It's vital we pray, using the words of the carol, or similar words:

"O come to my heart, Lord Jesus.

"There is room in my heart for thee."

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