Considering Christ as Ultimate Gift: A Christmas Meditation
It's easy during the Christmas season to look at the cultural expressions of Christmas and what Christmas is about, and to sadly shake our heads and say somewhat self-righteously to ourselves: 'They just don't get it. Christmas isn't about Santa and consumerism and vapid jingles and presents and so on. It's about Jesus.'
We might even proudly post something like 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season' on our Facebook page, feeling rather proud of ourselves for not losing sight of Jesus during the season that bears His Name.
I humbly submit to you we Christians are often just as, if not more guilty (since we know better) than the culture of minimizing Jesus during this season. It's not that we don't focus on Jesus during the season, rather, it's often the case that He is one of many important things in the season for us. He is certainly more important than Black Friday deals on Amazon and more important than Christmas lights, but there is often a part of us that thinks along these lines this time of year:
'I know the stories. I know about Jesus being born of a virgin. I know about the angels watching their flocks by night. I know there was no room in the inn. I know this is God the Son coming to us as a baby. I know all that.'
These are good things to know. Important things. But familiarity with a narrative isn't synonymous with wrestling with the implications of the narrative, the profound things going on in that narrative.
For a moment, I ask you to slow down and think with me.
From eternity past, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, One God in Three Persons, existed and existed in perfect loving harmony. Before there was what we might know as space, time, matter, anything, there was God. Always God. No beginning. No end. God above and outside and over time, not restrained by time. Perfectly, joyfully happy and content.
God creates the heavenly host, the angels and this pleases Him. He has no need for fellowship. He is not 'lonely,' and He needs nothing. Love gives itself away. Love creates. God delights in sharing His glory, displaying His glory.
It pleases God to create all that exists. He speaks galaxies and atoms and molecules and black holes and all that is, into existence, again, for His glory, as an artist creates a masterpiece, God creates.
God creates man.He knows we will rebel. He still creates us and gives us life. He gives all that we need for life. He gives us food and water, air to breathe, opportunity to fellowship with Him. He cares for us.
We trash everything. We are not content to know our God. We want to be as God. We defy Him.
God pursues us.
We do all we can to deny Him, to live on our own terms, to live absolutely contrary to the design of the Master Artist. We are arrogant. Sinful to the core. Sinners by nature.
God still pursues us.
Yes there is righteous, holy judgment. There are times when God says to people and cultures and nations 'enough!' and righteous judgment rains down and no one can say 'what have you done?' because we all deserve judgment.
We speak out of both sides of our mouth. We ask for mercy while saying 'MY will be done,' at the same time.
God would be perfectly just in giving us all the justice we deserve.
He loves. He is patient. He pursues.
We continue to trash and wreck things. We make war. We kill. We steal and destroy. We use people. We crave power and recognition and attention and we demand our way. We walk around with clenched fists, shaking them anger at God and at people, people made in His image. We rush around living life on our own terms and rarely think of Him if we think of Him at all. We lie. We steal. We hate.
As a race, we humans are an ungrateful bunch.
And, because we are sinful by nature and because God is Holy and Righteous and Just, He must punish sin. He cannot overlook sin.
God's Plan: God the Son will leave the glories of heaven and take on flesh, coming to us in the most vulnerable of ways, as an infant, born of a virgin, born into this mess and squalor we have made.
Fully God, fully man, Jesus will experience all we experience. He will know hunger, fatigue, rejection, pain, weariness, heartache, loss, betrayal...He will experience all of this and to add insult to injury, He, the Creator, will not even be recognized by His own creation. In fact, we will hate Him. We crucify Him. We kill Him.
This was His plan all along, to lay down His life willingly to pay the penalty for our sins, to ransom us, to undo the curse that is on us, to take our place on that cross that we might be forgiven and reconciled to our Father.
We who trashed everything.
We don't deserve it. That is clearly obvious. The incarnation is an indescribable demonstration of love, grace, mercy and the only proper response is awe, wonder, worship and to receive the gift of the Son as one would receive the King: to humble ourselves and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, King of Kings, to confess the mess we have made of things, our rebellion against Him, to lay down our arms and cry for mercy.
This is what is going on in that manger. God's ultimate pursual of His wayward creation.
That child came to die.
He came for you and me.
Consider these things this Christmas.
Come, let us adore Him.
Grace and Peace,
More in Pastor's Blog
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