The Christmas story is probably one of the, if not the most, well-known story in the world. Whenever it’s read, a person is caught up in awe and wonder. Salvation for humankind and the cosmos is given in the presence of God in the baby Jesus. Different. Different than anything we might have thought of.
Think about it. If we were given the choice, wouldn’t we want God to do something spectacular? — something really glitzy yet profound and awe inspiring? Wouldn’t we also want to play a key role in that story, so we might be able to share with our friends, “I helped God pull it off!”
Little wonder, isn’t it, that God chose the way He did it? From a young virgin named Mary, who was willing to bear the scorn of the public as an unwed mother (and would have if it had not been for God providing a husband for her), God brought a Holy Gift through an earthly vessel.
The world has been shaking its head ever since. Which is why the world shakes its head at us; we believe the story! God chose an incredibly profound way to enter our humanity, and thus our human condition. God wasn’t afraid to suffer, feel sadness, experience joy, endure persecution, humiliation, torture and death —right along there with us.
That’s pretty awesome. God, who didn’t have to do it, did it in order to be a more intimate God for us. He is not aloof; He is accessible. He is not disinterested; He is in love with us! Thus the Christmas story! “The Word took on human skin and pitched his tent among us. We have seen His awesomeness; the awesomeness of the One and Only, coming from the Father, and He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” John 1:14 (Translation mine).
How well do you think you know the Christmas story? Have you taken a good look at it lately? Have you seen yourself as one of the reasons this story came to be? If not, look again. You're there. First kneeling by the manger; second, standing beneath His cross; third, walking to Emmaus. You’re the reason Jesus came. What an awesome God! Let the world shake its head! We still believe in Emmanuel; God is with us!
Dear people of Christ Community, I encourage you to make and take time to worship this Advent and Christmas season. There are so many things competing for our time that unless each of us is intentional about setting aside time to worship, we won’t. Other things will have drained us dry by keeping us busy doing stuff! “Do not let the world press you into its mold; rather, be transformed by having your minds renewed. After that, you will be able to test and approve God’s will — God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (Translation mine).
God bless you!
Pastor Fred Westerhold