I work at a church, so I think I should be used to all the people that come out of the woodwork twice a year for Easter and Christmas. And, in some ways, I am used to the crowds and the way we make those two holidays huge at the church. But, at the same time, those crowds confuse me.
If I was a marginal Christian, or someone who didn’t even consider myself a Christian, but thought it was ‘good’ to go to church, I don’t know that I would pick the two holidays that bookend the life of Christ as my services. I mean, think about it. If you don’t believe Christ is who he said he was, then wouldn’t Easter be the most offensive day to you? Why do all of these people come to church just to be told that they are going to mess up, their lives are a mess, and that someone had to DIE just so they could live? I don’t know why that would be the message any rational person would want to hear once a year, without hearing all the other stuff. These are the services that are most exclusively about Christ and what He did and what His life meant. These are services about serving, loving, being a positive impact on the community – these services are exclusively about Christ.
But then, it hit me, and it all made sense. Could it be that the longing for God is so deep and real in each person that they can’t help but be drawn to the story of Christ? Could it be that, even when we try out hardest to fight the influence of God in our lives, He still brings us so close to Him for two days a year that people who couldn’t care less are suddenly hungry for the message? And, because He is God and He knows what is going on in the hearts of men, He ordains that the fringe of people that only come to His house of worship on Christmas and Easter will hear about the most important and greatest miracles of Christ’s life – His virgin birth, His sinless life, His death on a cross, and, most importantly, the empty tomb that could not hold Him down.
It’s like the verse in Ecclesiastes: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (3:11)
Even when people do not want to follow Christ, even when they want to live their own life and do their own thing, God has set eternity in the hearts of each person to draw them to Him when their hearts are the most willing to hear His story.