In the opening chapters of the Bible, above and beyond the great truth that God spoke the worlds into existence, is the enormous, pulsating truth from God’s heart that He wanted to have a relationship with each of us. Can you imagine a beautiful evening in the Garden of Eden when God came to talk with Adam and Eve? It’s hard to conceive how wonderful life was in that perfect garden — an uninterrupted, unspoiled relationship and fellowship with the living God. Everything in the garden was theirs but for one tree. God said do not take of that tree. Adam and Eve chose to do what God told them not to do, and sin entered our world. It was devastating not only for Adam and Eve but for the heart of God who longed to be in relationship with them, but now a barrier existed because of sin.
Sin is always a barrier between God and His people, between people and people, between nations and races. Our determination to have our will, over and above what God’s will would be, always separates. It inflicts pain and death. Even with His own creation disobeying and rebelling, God was not willing to stay away. He could have just as easily dismissed Adam and Eve and all of us, but He was filled with such determined love and amazing grace that He would reach out to bring us back to Himself. God announced it to His people through men who were called prophets. He showed His great care through miracles and defied logic, but ultimately His great plan unfolded in the presentation of His Son in a manger in Bethlehem He came to us even though we had rejected Him and run from Him. He came to us.
It is the message of Christmas from the beginning of time to the end of the age, for at Christmas God Himself came to identify with us. John tells the glorious events and describes it this way: “And the word was made flesh” (1:14). Words are the expression of thought, and these thoughts from the mind and the heart of God — the word became flesh — took His thoughts and His expressions and enveloped them in human form in a baby whose name was Jesus. He did not just send word to us that He loved us and that He had a plan that would save every one of us, He came and identified with all that we were as He offered all that we could be. He took on our burdens. He experienced our temptations, yet without sin. He walked among us and traveled down the roads that we travel. He saw all around Him how sin had broken relationships and ruined lives. He came and identified with us. He was not a far-off, distant god who was aloof and untouchable and even uncaring. No, He came and identified with us.
A minister friend of mine and his wife have collected nativity scenes through the years. At last count they were approaching 100 scenes. Most every Christmas, they would put many of them on display. As they also gathered children, the problems grew of putting out the nativity scenes and protecting them from little hands. One of the nativity scenes they had picked up somewhere along the way was a set of figures that were cushy like little pillows and washable if something happened to them. With some preschool kids in their home, guess which nativity scene they liked the best and guess which one the parents allowed them to have and play with all they wanted? You got it – the one they could hold and hug, play with, and maybe in a moment of disagreement even throw one of the characters at one of the other children. It was that one that was available to them, that identified with their world. It is Jesus that you and I have been given from heaven, for He comes to identify with us in our great needs and our big problems.
Jesus also came to inform us. John said, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (1:14). He brought us the truth about God. In John 3:16 where we find, “For God so loved the world…,” in the context of the following verses that say He came not to condemn but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17). Our God is a righteous God, but His passionate desire is to save everyone. The message of Christmas ultimately is that Jesus has come to instigate the reconnection of humanity with its Maker.
He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. He came so that each of us — dislodged from His presence, disengaged from His will, and disturbed by our own sinfulness — could be reunited and wonderfully ignited by the very presence of God. Today, this Christmas, the Bible says that if you will turn from your sin and turn to the Savior we celebrate, He promises that whoever comes to Him, He will not reject. Today is your day to trust Jesus as your Savior.
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