As we finish up any plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we search for the real reason for this special season. The birth of a baby in a humble setting. A baby who is in fact the Messiah…the Savior…the Christ child! Hard to wrap my head around that! Many were looking for a powerful military leader to charge in on a white stallion. Why did God choose this form of messenger/Savior? Maybe because mankind ignores and forgets historical figures?
One of my favorite ways to answer why God chose Jesus birth, is this story:
It was a snowy Christmas Eve. Inside the warm house, the Christmas tree was cheerfully ablaze with lights and surrounded by dozens of presents. The man’s wife and children were dressed and ready to leave for church. “Come with us,” they urged, for they loved him. “Not me,” he snapped. “I don’t believe all that religious garbage.”
For many years, the man’s wife had been trying to tell him about Jesus Christ and the salvation he offers. How God’s Son had become a human being to show us the way to heaven. “Nonsense,” the man always said.
The family left for church and the man was all alone in his cozy country home. He glanced out the window at the cold snowy scene outside. He turned to warm himself by the fire. But as he turned, his eyes caught a movement in the snow outside. He looked. Cats! Three young cats walking slowly past his window.
“The fools,” he thought. “They’ll freeze for sure!” The man put on his hat and coat and opened the door. A blast of wintry air sent a shiver through his body. “Come here, cats! Come inside where there are warmth and food. You’ll die out there.” But the cats ran away, frightened by the stranger at the door. He walked outside. “Come back! Don’t be afraid, I want to save you.” But the cats were gone. It was too late.
“Well, I did everything I could for them,” the man muttered to himself. “What more could I do? I’d have to become a cat myself to reach them and save them. If I became a cat, I could tell them and show them. They would have to believe me then unless they were fools.”
Just as he reached the door, the church bells rang in the distance. The man paused for a second and listened. Then he went in by the fire, got down on his knees, and wept…. for the first time, he understood the meaning of Christmas!
That’s a fun story…and yet isn’t that what the Christmas story is all about. The Creator of the universe loved us so much that he came to earth…to be one of us… to show us how to be saved… And if we listen to him and follow him, we will not perish, but instead will be given everlasting life.
Most of us know: John 3:16…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. It’s a powerful verse of Hope for us…but it does not address the “how” He will do it.
But how about: Philippians 2:6-8…Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
He was born to live… and yet He lived to die!
Roy Lawson writes:
- If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
- If our greatest need had been technology God would have sent us a scientist.
- If our greatest need had been money God would have sent us an economist.
- But since our greatest need was forgiveness God sent us a savior!
We all sin and fall short. The wages of sin is death (eternal separation from God). On our own, we are hopelessly lost. But God could not stand to lose us (you) so He sent His Son…to be born…to live a perfect life in your place…to die (not for His sins but yours) …and to rise again victoriously!!!! That is the greatest all-time GIFT. It’s a one size fits all gift of infinite worth…not sold online or at any specialty store!!!!
And through the lens of the Gospel… God sees past your warts, wrinkles, pride, greed, sinful nature….. He loves you unconditionally despite you!
In his book Mortal Lessons physician Richard Selzer describes a scene in a hospital room after he had performed surgery on a young woman’s face:
I stand by the bed where the young woman lies…her face, postoperative…her mouth twisted in palsy…clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, one of the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be that way from now on. I had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had cut this little nerve.
A young man stood in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed, and together they seem to be in a world all their own in the evening lamplight…isolated from me…private.
Who are they? I ask myself…he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously. The young woman speaks. “Will my mouth always be like this?” she asks. “Yes,” I say, “it will. It is because the nerve was cut.” She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. “I like it,” he says. “It’s kind of cute.”
All at once, I know who he is. I understand, and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with the divine. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers…to show her that their kiss still works.”
God accommodated himself to us by coming down from heaven as a little baby. He came to us, and then he allowed his body to be twisted on the cross to show us that the love of God still works.
Regardless of the scars that you bear from the ravages of sin, you are loved by God. You are beautiful to him. You were created in his image, and you bear the likeness of his Son. He will never stop loving you.
Romans 8:35, 37-39… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wow…I bet you didn’t see this devotion going this direction, did you?
My prayer for you is that you see Christmas for what is really is:
The Son of God becoming the Son of Man (for you) …humbly entering the world as a child (for you). A child who lived a sinless life (for you). A Savior who innocently went to the cross to die (for you). The Messiah who rose on the third day (for you). Your Lord and Savior who has Unconditional Love (for you).
May you and your family find:
GOD’S PEACE, JOY, LOVE, AND HAPPINESS THIS CHRISTMAS….AND EVERY DAY.