So here we are again in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Churches are beginning to light Advent candles and schedule Christmas pageants. Radio stations are playing, “Silent Night.” People are climbing steep ladders and digging through stuffed closets to cover their homes with colorful decorations. Not to mention all the Christmas parties!
But can I ask that oft-repeated question on the lips of every toddler: Why?
What is the point of all this? Why do we put ourselves through this year after year after year? It is so easy in the hustle and bustle of the season to forget. And even when we hear the story of the manger and the shepherds and the angels, we miss it because of its familiarity to us. We’re numb to it; like a smoker who has gone nose blind and can’t tell that everything in their house reeks of smoke because they’ve been so accustomed to living in it. We’re no longer surprised about the story of Christmas, and that can be very dangerous. If you find yourself yawning or scratching your head as the Christmas story is being told again, then this is for you. My hope is that this post will help rekindle your wonder.
Christmas is the story of a how a big, holy God came to dwell with a little, unholy people. Don’t be fooled by the smallness of the baby in the manger or the insignificant place in which He was born. It may not look like much, but this is God. The God who lit the fire of a thousand blazing suns…with just His words. The God who parted a giant sea to save His people. The God who sent fire from heaven at Elijah’s prayer. This is that same God. If you and I could somehow hop on a time machine and travel back to the stable and look this baby in the face, nothing about his appearance would scream, “I am God!”, yet He was. That same being who cried for his mother’s milk and seemed so vulnerable would soon fast for forty days in the wilderness, walk on water, drive out demons, and still storms…with just His words.
One Christian artist has stated it like this: “By faith we believe this amazing Jesus who made Uranus and Venus became a fetus. It’s such a secret that few, if anybody, knew it. Months later he’s covered in amniotic fluid. The subject of the gospels, praise of apostles; armed with eye sockets, armpits, and nostrils? Who is this Jesus? God clothed in human weakness, super sweetness and peace for the true believers. See the One who never tires knocked out sleeping; see the source of eternal joy weeping. Which one can explain how the Son, abundant with fame, who made thunder and rain now has hunger pains? See the Creator of water become thirsty on the cross when he saved from the slaughter the unworthy. My awe should be sky high, and I ought to just sigh with water in my eyes when the Author of life dies.”
Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, I agree. It is pretty astonishing. But what does it mean for me?”
Here a just a few things I hope the Christmas story will do to your heart this season …
- It should lead you to awestruck wonder that God came not to destroy sinners, but to save them.
If God is so holy and we are so sinful, then the first Christmas Day should have been Judgment Day, but it wasn’t. Those who commit crimes are criminals and criminals should be punished. Likewise, those who commit sins are sinners and sinners should be punished. Yet God sent Jesus to take our punishment on the cross.
- It should lead you to joyful gratitude that this big God cares about little people like us.
Isaiah 57:15a states, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.'” This should be the end of all our wallowing in self-pity and the beginning of all our joy. The God whose presence fills the heavens promises to dwell with those who humble themselves before him. In Jesus He came to dwell among us.
- It should lead you to genuine repentance since our sins were so bad this was the only way to save us.
How could we live in a way that isn’t pleasing to God when he has gone to such great lengths to save us? Let’s turn from our sins of lying, pride, gossip, lust, envy, un-forgiveness, and whatever else, and let us fall in worship before God.
- It should lead you to confident trust in Christ, who left heaven on a rescue mission to save sinners like us.
There is no greater length God could go to secure our trust in Him. Let us lean confidently on the steady Rock of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- It should lead you to holy living since this God is so worthy of our heart’s affection.
When God opens a sinner’s eyes to the wonder of Christmas, He doesn’t tell them just to stop sinning. He fills them with energy to shine for Him in every area of life. May we show our amazement over Christ in our work ethic, school performance, the way we treat our spouse, raise our children, and even in our leisure time.
So this Christmas, as we’re running around picking up last minute Christmas presents and decorating our homes, let’s all stop and ponder the weight of what was really happening that first Christmas night. Then, let’s go express our joy and wonder in lives that please God and honor His Son’s sacrifice.