There is a lot of talk this time of year about the meaning of Christmas. But what do we really mean with that statement? We all know it’s supposedly Jesus’ birthday but we mean, I sense, a whole lot more than that, as important and meaningful as that is. For me the meaning of Christmas has this year been about God’s incredible love for us/me; Hallmark movies; and sugar cookies. I love happy endings and there really aren’t that many in real life. Thus the need for Hallmark movies where things always work out well in the end. And, sugar cookies seem to go hand-in-hand with sweet, sappy Hallmark movies.
Jesus’ birth was a stupendous, wonderful, miraculous, world changing event that was the most important day in the history of the world. Immanuel, God with us, not in theory, not in some vague spiritual way, not in our imaginations, but in the flesh, as a baby, born in poverty and of questionable familial purity from much of the communities perspective back then.
It seems now that the excitement, expectancy, community-wide sense of happiness, joy is receding into a memory about the good ole days. But during these perilous times let us remember that the baby Jesus entered planet earth during tumultuous times as well following 20 some years of civil war and evidenced by the slaughter of hundred of innocent baby boys by King Herod immeditiatly after Jesus’ birth and His parents fleeing to Egypt for His safety. We forget that evil is all around us and has been since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden and Cain killed Able. It’s been going down hill ever since.
Christmas is a time to remember where Jesus came from, who He is, and why He was born. He’s not just a baby, but The Baby, God in the flesh, who came to do for us what we were incapable of doing for ourselves, saving us from us. When we think about all the pain, anger and hatred in the world now let us remember and take comfort in the fact that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to King Jesus and He rules justly, lovingly and with a good measure of grace and mercy sprinkled in. We are not a people without hope. Quite the opposite. Recall that “in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord…. and the government will be upon His shoulders and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” And He is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”. “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given Jesus, not some but all, and who promises to be with us always, even to the very end of the age. So, we have every reason to be hopeful, optimistic, excited to see what God does next, knowing that He works ALL things together for His children’s good.
So, be merry this Christmas and remember that like the Hallmark movies, it all works out in the end. Merry Christmas.