What Difference Does Jesus Make, Anyway?

It was Christmas day and Thomas was undecided about following Jesus.
Thomas was a good person and he couldn’t see that following Jesus would make a big difference in his life.
An angel, Marella, arrived to clarify Thomas’s choice.
Marella held out her hand, “Come with me, Thomas. I’ll show you Christmas Day in Sin-town and Christmas Day in Saints-ville to see if that helps you decided.”
When they arrived in Saints-ville, there were lights glowing in every home, the scent of warm-baked bread and vanilla in the air, music flowing in the streets, and people serving one another without regard to situation or station, sacrificing to meet the needs of loved ones and strangers alike.
“It’s beautiful here,” Thomas said in awe, “Surely this is where I want to be.”
Marella whispered in his ear, “Visit Sin-town first, and then decide.”
Thomas was certain he didn’t need the trip but held on anyway as the angel whisked him off to Sin-town.
When they arrived, he was astonished and confused. There were lights glowing in every home, the scent of warm-baked bread and vanilla in the air, music flowing in the streets, and people serving one another without regard to situation or station, sacrificing to meet the needs of loved ones and strangers alike.
“Wait, what?” Thomas scratched his head. “I thought you were here to help me with my decision but this just reinforces my point. There is no difference.”
Marella smiled. “Perhaps this isn’t the day to decide. I’ll return tomorrow to check in.”
The day after Christmas arrived and Marella visited Thomas again.
He shook his head. “I’m still not sure if following Jesus makes any difference. Maybe we could make one more visit to Sin-town and Saints-ville.”
“As you wish,” Marella replied.
They arrived in Sin-town and, as you would expect, it was business as usual the day after Christmas. People had returned their everyday lives, home lights were darkened, the scent of sweat filled the air as everyone was busy with their toil, yelling and weeping filled the streets as people received the bills for their Christmas celebrations, and there were children, elderly, and homeless sitting unnoticed by the side of the road (except by a few designated to care for them) as the townspeople resumed their work.
Thomas sighed. “Well, that’s what I would have expected. There’s nothing terrible about life going back to normal.”
There was a hint of sadness in Marella’s eyes as she replied, “I suppose not. Come, one last visit to Saints-ville.”
When they arrived on the street of Saints-ville Thomas stood still. He felt disoriented and confused. “Marella, what’s happened? Have we gone back one day in time?”
“Not at all. Why do you ask?” she smiled.
“Well, look!” Thomas pointed at Saints-ville where there were lights glowing in every home, the scent of warm-baked bread and vanilla in the air, music flowing in the streets, and people serving one another without regard to situation or station, sacrificing to meet the needs of loved ones and strangers alike.
Thomas looked at Marella. “The day after Christmas in Saints-ville looks the same as Christmas day!”
“And that, Thomas, is the difference that following Jesus makes. On their own, humans can muster enough brotherly love, kindness, and cheer to celebrate for a brief season each year but a life turned over to Christ can know that experience every day of every year through eternity. In Saints-ville, the celebration of Jesus’ birth and the love that flows from that source never ends.”
“Marella, I’ve made my choice.” Thomas said, with tears in his eyes.
“Thomas,” said Marella as she glowed even brighter, “Jesus chose you before you were even born. Welcome home, saintly one, welcome to the celebration that never ends.”

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1 Comment

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  1. Pam Manners says:

    Words and pictures brought a smile to my face just now. What a wonderful analogy!