Before you, the fire is luminously lit, glowing yellow, rousing red, and blazing blue. Crackling wood musically mingles with the carol that you’re singing: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos. Fading lyrics and dancing flames allow your mind to drift into contemplation. You are thinking of Jesus now… nestled in His crib on that Christmas morn. Heaven and earth rejoicing! The Savior is born! “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Jesus is your truest Christmas gift. Your thoughts turn from the fire before you, to thoughts of an eternal fire, pondering how Jesus came to save you from that sizzler. Although many would like to dismiss the thought of Hell, it does exist (CCC 1035).
If your talk becomes a walk with the wicked one, you won’t just find coal in your stocking this year; rather, you may find permanent residence in one hot home. Jesus speaks boldly about the blazing abyss (Matthew 13:42, Matthew 25:41, Luke 16:24). The thought of a fiery fate, void of our Creator, should fill us with fear. However, “God predestines no one to Hell” (CCC 1037) and wishes no one to perish (2 Peter 3:9). So how do people fall prey to the pit? Just like Eve, paradise turns to perdition when you eat bad apples; the dense destiny of Hell is freely chosen by your daily doings. “We cannot be united to God unless we freely choose him” (CCC 1033). And so, your choices must reflect love for Jesus and NOT love for Lucifer and his offerings of lies, luxury, lust, laziness, and a lukewarm faith. “The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Those who have lived in mortal sin (CCC 1857) and have failed to seek repentance upon death will be cast to Hell (CCC 1033). Jesus has “set before you life and death, blessing and curse, therefore choose life, that you… may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).