The holidays bring people together but what are we really celebrating? What is the Christmas story? And why is it so significant?
The very first book of the Bible, Genesis, opens with “in the beinning God created the heavens and the earth,” and continues to explain the
beautiful way God created our world. Lastly, He creates perfect humanity in the form of a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, and God is able to dwell with His people. The text says that He walks with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evenings. Then tragedy strikes, Adam chooses to sin and God is no longer able to walk with them. The rest of the Old Testament conveys the creator God longing to be with His people but having to be separate because of their sin. No longer able to dwell with man like before, God speaks to His people through a voice promising a redeemer who would come and right humanity’s wrong.
The gospel of John, the good news of Jesus Christ, tells the story of Jesus. John explains that Jesus is not just the man of our history books but that He was God. The book opens with the same sentiment, “in the beginning,” but this time, “in the beginning was the Word…and the Word became flesh.” The Word, the audible God, removed from humanity because of sin, has now touched down on earth and become flesh. It is a miraculous and wondrous thing! God in the flesh, entering the world just as we do, in humble form as a baby. As the story continues, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, lives a perfect life and is killed as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God as man, offering himself up for the sake of His people to be back in relationship with Him, hangs on a tree. As the creator God dies at the hands of man, it’s as if the story stops. Creation holds it’s breath. Waiting, wondering, hoping.
I’m getting ahead of myself now, for this is the story we celebrate on Easter morning but the significant of the cross finds its beginning in the cry of a baby on Christmas eve.
Three days after Jesus’ death, His followers go to the tomb to find it empty, because the Creator of life could not be held down by death or sin. He rose from the dead, conquering death and sin once and for all for us. With our sin debt paid in full, He now offers forgiveness of sin and freedom from death for all who would surrender their will and come to Him.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines into the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5
On Christmas we celebrate the day that God, the creator and light of the world, Jesus Christ, took on flesh and was born as a baby. The day that God had predicted and longed for, the day that he would dwell with His people once again to right our wrong. The day the audible God, the God humanity had known in words, would come in person and take on flesh.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have see His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
This is the reason for the season, the reason we stop and wonder, reflect and sing. We celebrate because God came to our rescue and gave us the ultimate gift of life. Don’t let the hustle and bustle keep you from the wonder of God in flesh, or from the forgiveness of a God who came to His people full of grace and truth. The God who longs to be with us.