Last Saturday I headed to a concert. On my way in, I saw friends who were sitting in the front row. I stopped by to hug them—and then went to my seat on the third level.
Obviously we heard the exact same concert, but we experienced it differently. Their tickets were worth more, so they had a far more personal experience with the performers. From section 309, I could barely see faces, but I loved the concert anyway. (Still, the front would have been better, right?)
Some friends and I joke that, kind of like the concert, we’re going to be sitting in the back row of heaven. You know, we’ll be allowed in, but we won’t get the good seats. Those are reserved for the good people, the more valuable people. We will still enjoy heaven, but probably not have the same experience.
While we may joke around about it, deep down it’s easy for us to worry this might be a real scenario. Maybe you don’t have the right past, so you think you don’t fully belong in heaven. Or maybe you keep falling into the same sin over and over again, so you think you aren’t good enough. Or you know you’ll get in because of Jesus, but don’t feel like you really qualify.
THIS is why we need to celebrate Christmas every single year.
When you see the baby in the manger, you are reminded that God so loved everyone in the whole world that he sent his one and only Son. You remember that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:8,9).
God isn’t angry at you. He isn’t pushing you to the back row. He isn’t making you feel disconnected in the last row. Instead, “the LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
As he’s rejoicing, he invites you to the front row, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! . . . Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).
Welcome to the front row!
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor. She once sat in the front row at a concert, and it was sweet!