A number of years ago we received a calendar from some missionary friends living in France. The December scripture was taken from this passage in Luke 7: “Dieu a visite son peuple.” I remember thinking how much that verse captured the essence of Christmas (I kept repeating it in faulty French!). God came to visit his people….
He never left.
The gospel of Matthew begins with a declaration that he is here: “…they will call his name Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us’” (1:23). Then ends with the same assurance: “… surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (28:20). This profound assertion meets one of man’s most basic needs—knowing we’re not alone in the universe. Christmas, then is a season of hope, hope that Someone is here. The incarnation lets us see that in the midst of a world increasingly characterized by broken relationships and isolation, there remains a God who is both sovereign and near.
But the message of Christmas goes further….heralding the tidings that incalculable good can emerge from the most unlikely of circumstances. Who would have thought that the Creator of the universe would have come to earth as a baby? Not only a baby, but a poor baby? Brennan Manning notes that Christmas is “a promise that in the end everything will be all right.” I like that. I like knowing that nothing—nothing—can harm us permanently. Neither losses nor defeats last indefinitely. Jesus is born as the Redeemer who buys the wreckage of our lives and puts us back together.
One of my favorite Christmas carols…
Come Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
God has come through Jesus and remains through the Holy Spirit. The most unimaginable has become a tangible reality. It’s cause for celebration….
Happy Birthday Jesus!