“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” John 1:10
What was true when the Apostle John wrote these words 2000 years ago is becoming more prevalent in our culture today. As a young boy growing up after World War II in the 1940’s and 50’s, our country was much more of a Christian nation than today. Sundays were reserved for church and visiting family. Most businesses were closed to give people a day of rest; there were no Little League games on Sunday. Movies avoided four letter words and scenes of explicit sex. Abortion was not a readily acceptable form of birth control.
We started our days in public schools with both prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1954, the phrase, “under God” was added to the Pledge, “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In 1956, Congress added “IN GOD WE TRUST” to our currency.
During the Christmas season, displays of the crèche and the Holy Family would appear in the central park of my home town. The Christmas story was recited and Christmas carols were sung at our school concerts. Safety for kids was not a concern. When I started kindergarten, I walked to school six blocks from our house by myself or with other kids. Parents did not wait with their kids at bus stops. We rode our bikes everywhere without concern.
Though these recollections are less evident in our culture today, we can take heart in John’s additional words. “Yet, to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” John 1:12
Jesus Christ is still present in the world today! All who accept his offer to dwell in them, all who believe in his name, are given the opportunity to become children of the Most High God. Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
Regardless of what is happening in our culture or with our government, God still offers to be present in our lives. He promises that “on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Mt. 16:18 Throughout history, governments and ideologies have come and gone, but God’s church has remained.
May we not lose heart in the societal changes we see, but join with our Christian brothers and sisters to be and bring the presence of Christ to the people and circumstances in our lives.
To what person or circumstance can you bring the presence of Christ today?