I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas lately…duh…who isn’t? But I’ve been thinking in a more specific direction. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Nativity or the birth of Jesus. I’ve been thinking how crazy it sounds that God, the creator of all things, would be born as a baby, to a virgin, in a place like Bethlehem, fully man and fully God. Is it just me or does that sound crazy? I think it does despite it being true.
Let me explain how I got to this point.
The last few months I’ve been struggling with a number of things in my life and how God fits into them. I’ve begun to see Him outside the box He’s neatly resided in (I hate it when God gets out of the box, things then get complicated). As I was reading and considering some of this I read a short prayer that has been with me ever since:
“Lord God, though I don’t understand you I will trust you.”
That has been both liberating and a bit scary. I’m a type-A guy and a leader, trust comes hard I admit. I like to set the tone. When I understand it’s a lot easier. This prayer says trust anyway. We enter into the realm of mystery when we trust without understanding. It’s hard to do but then that’s where God really shows up.
Paul talked about this when he said: “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus….this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.” (Eph.3:6-9)
That is what Christmas is about, that is what Christian’s (should) celebrate every December 25th-that in a manger in Bethlehem hundreds of years ago God’s plan to bring salvation to all mankind was enacted. This is the hidden mystery which has been revealed and though hard to understand by default we are called to trust in it and the One who set it in motion.
That’s also where the problem comes for so many, when we move from principle to practice.
Sure we trust God, but do we really TRUST God?? I’m not so sure. When I look at my life and the lives of many around me our actions don’t show that. We pay lip service to it. We sing one thing Sunday and live another on Monday.
As we confront the reality of Christmas and what it means –the Word became flesh (John 1:14), God Himself came as man. The angels proclaimed this message of hope to a group of shepherds minding their own business. We read about this in Luke 2, we recite it, our kids acted it out Sunday in our Christmas pageant but do we UNDERSTAND what happened and do we TRUST the implications of it?
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Couldn’t they have just Tweeted it? No, this was more, this was a proclamation. A message that salvation had come for all people, not just a select few, that the old way of trying to work our way into Heaven (which doesn’t work by the way) is done, the Messiah had come!
So what does this mean for us and why is it such a gift? Just this: that even though you may not understand it all, you don’t have to. God’s got it covered, He’s given us the greatest Christmas gift ever: that if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we will be saved (Acts 2:21). Have you received the gift? Have you opened it? Do it and watch your life be changed forever.
Merry Christmas from the Timm family and from me. May you experience peace on earth and joy in your world this Christmas and in the year to come.
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