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Every Christmas for the past seven years, these words cross my mind and when they do, I pause for a moment and just wonder.
These are the words
God’s answer to everything that terrorized us was not an army or king but a child.
I guess I may have listened to these words in a sermon or read them in a book. I will not take credit for such impressive words. These words have lent meaning to Christmas time, for me. Ever since the gospel of grace powered itself into my heart, my appreciation for Christian celebrations came full circle.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah uttered these words.
All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
These prophecy amongst others came true 740 years later.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)
What God does borders on the ludicrous. Or not! Of course, you will contend this child grew into a man. You are absolutely correct.
What I need you to understand is his access point – his beginning – his starting point. He does not show up as a general like Alexander the Great, or with the might of the American Army. He shows up in a way that many would reject or find deeply objectionable.
However, this is true to form with how the God of grace works. God uses the foolish, powerless, and despised things of this world.
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NLT)
When God wanted to save us, he sent a child.
I once heard a preacher say the problems of the world are complex and they need complex solutions. There is no dispute that there are complex problems in our world brought about by Adam’s original sin. The gospel, however, offers a different view of the problems in our world. The problems in our world are fruits of the original sin. And it is this sin that this child came to save us from. In saving us, we would then save the world.
Christmas is the celebration of the child (minuscule, weak, and defenceless), the answer to our carnage, ugliness, brokenness, unworthiness, poverty and darkness – the issues that plague our world.
Somebody asked me recently whether I celebrate Christmas. I replied, “hell yeah I do!” I knew why he asked me that question. He has been tossed to and fro with the wind of doctrine that argues Christmas is a pagan festival.
Christmas, Easter and every Christian celebration are expressions of grace – we have received what we don’t deserve. They point us to Jesus and to his work on our behalf.
Hey, go ahead and celebrate this child – his name is Yeshua. He came to save you from your sins. Go shop, eat, drink, laugh, and dance. It’s time for joy.
That’s what grace looks like.