If you stop in at Marlowe’s BBQ restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, you will see a memorial to Elvis Presley, the late “King” of rock n’ roll. Since Graceland is nearby, he often ate at Marlowe’s and visited with the owner. Today, due to the Elvis connection, Marlowe’s has a standing tribute to the singer. A visit by the “king” made a difference.
On May 18, 1840, Abraham Lincoln visited Pontiac, Michigan, while fulfilling his first term in the Livingston County circuit court. He rode a horse through a driving rain to execute his duties. Now, there is a memorial plaque that recalls the day that Abraham Lincoln visited here. The neighborhood celebrates Lincoln’s visit, and it is now a community-changing memory. The visit by the future president made a difference.
On the evening of September 19, 1780, General George Washington slept in a tavern that was located in the small town of Ridgebury, Connecticut. That same land was later deeded to the Ridgebury Congregational Church, where the church stands today. The church actually “gathered” in 1760, and replaced the tavern in 1780. To this day, there is a memorial plaque in front of the church that says, “George Washington slept here.” (But not in church!) His visit made a difference to the community.
Isn’t amazing how the visit of a “celebrity” person can make such a difference in normal lives?
Consider Christmas. The manger was a dreadful place where animals ate. No one ever imagined that it would be the throne of a king. But when Jesus “visited” the manger, everything changed. Now over 2000 years later, we sing and talk of the manger with reverence. Why? Because Jesus the King slept there.
If you have ever toured the Holy Land, you soon discovered that there are many ordinary places that have become extraordinary because Jesus was there. Some of those areas include the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized, and the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed. And then, next to a smelly bus station, there is the craggy hill that is known as Mount Calvary. Common places that became uncommon because Jesus was there.
And that is the spectacular message of Christmas. Jesus brought a “presence” that changed every person that believed on Him. The normal evening sky became a billboard for the Good News that Christ was born. Uneducated shepherds were suddenly transformed into evangelists of the newborn King of Kings. A young virgin was changed from one of many, into an incredible vessel for the miraculous Gift from God to humanity.
Be encouraged today. You may feel that you are a nobody. Everyone passes you by, and that few care about your tomorrow. But God cares. And when Jesus visits your life, everything will change. As the scripture states in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)says, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all are become new.”