Christmas. A sweet celebration of the fact that God in His mercy chose to not abandon us to the consequences of our rejection of Him, His Word and His love!
What a joyful time for us to be made new or be renewed in our walk with Him by fully embracing His love and forgiveness!
No matter what era in which we live, if there is anything that we can conclude from the wonderful news of the birth of God’s Son, it is that no matter how ugly, horrible or sad things seem in the world (and they do indeed seem ugly, horrible and sad), we can know for certain that God is not removed from us by the complacency of one who simply does not care. Nor does He hold Himself aloof from us in contempt which we, arguably, deserve because of our spurning His holiness. No, He sees, He cares and He moves … in our world and in our lives.
But when we suffer and find ourselves accosted by unanswered questions, we lose heart. When we tire of waiting for what we want and feel affronted by life’s twists and turns as if there is a divine conspiracy afoot committed to our inconvenience, we turn our backs on Him.
How prone we are to blame God for the messes that we make for ourselves! We resist His will, yet angrily accuse Him of nonexistence when He allows us to do our own will. We object to His Word and then slander Him with claims of blatant cruelty when He allows us to refuse His interventions in our lives.
But the Christmas story is the announcement that God remembers us and remembers us in a spirit of compassion — with or without our consent. Why else would He endure the donning of flesh and blood with all its aches and pains? Why else would take upon Himself all the limitations of human flesh when He Himself knit the fabric of our forms in the wombs of our mothers? Why else would He forgo power and glory for a moment so that we could be forgiven and be given life with Him forever? Why else would He suffer to let men drive cruel nails through His flesh and publicly hang His broken body upon a cross? Why else does He today permit us a season of grace in which we can repent and turn to Him, forsaking our own ways and embracing His love and power?
The Christmas story is a wonderful story, but it is in truth part of a greater story: the epic journey of God’s Son to the cross of Calvary. The Christmas story is about hope because God refutes our despair by refusing to stand idly by as we hasten to our own destruction. The Christmas story is about peace because He took our sentence of death upon Himself so we might no longer be His enemies. The Christmas story is about joy because while the manger did indeed lead to the cross, the cross was merely a doorway that led through the tomb to a resurrection that guarantees us eternal life through faith in the glorified, risen Savior Who intercedes for those who turn from their sin and place their faith in Him alone.
The Christmas story is the breaking dawn of light and life in a world of darkness and death. If your Christmas is only about presents, decorations, Santa, and family traditions, your Christmas is only a lump of coal. But if you will let the fire of God’s grace ignite it, your Christmas can burst into a fiery blaze of real meaning that goes on when family and friends have moved on or when health or wealth have come to nothing for you.
December may be the darkest month of the year from a natural point of view, but it can be the bright start of a bright year when true faith in Jesus Christ is awakened in us!
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’… Behold, My servant (Jesus) shall act wisely; He shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted…. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient (to God the Father) to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Isaiah 52:7, 13; Philippians 2:4-11 ESV).
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.