Christmas is all about life
Christmas is all about life! It’s about both new life and eternal life.
But as we know, life can be difficult. We make choices that produce unintended and difficult circumstances, and people make decisions that work against us and bring us pain. When we enter into these difficult times, the pain tends to draw our eyes downward, away from God of life and toward ourselves. Our pain, understandably, becomes large, and as a result our perspective is that God becomes small, ineffective, unable to save. We may feel that he is not there, that He has abandoned us! While that’s certainly not true, our personal pain can overwhelm us to the point of believing that to be true.
It is at times like these that certain stories in the Bible are especially helpful, and none more so than the story of creation and of the birth of Jesus, which could be called a second creation. Although there are many controversies connected with both these stories, I believe that both teach us critical and central truths about God. One truth is this; if we focus on His power and His loving nature as displayed through these stories, the pain of our lives can find His healing. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. (Jer. 17:14)
Both stories show as God the Creator… and both stories are at the beginning of the two parts of the Bible; creation at the beginning of the OT, the new second creation at the beginning of the NT.
Genesis 1:1–2 begins by affirming that God is the sole creator of everything. He stands above creation, is separate from creation, and is sovereign over all he has made. The stage is set.
In the first three days, God takes what is chaotic and makes it inhabitable, and he does this merely by his spoken word. In this we see that God creates and controls matter at the subatomic and molecular level. Yet our temptation is to think that God cannot help us in our pain. Sounds almost silly when one puts it that way.
God makes light without the sun and stars, in contrast to the pagan myths that saw the sun as the ultimate power. To God, the sun and stars are incidental in creation.
He makes water that can exist in three states — liquid, solid, and gas — knowing that thousands of years later He will change the molecular structure of water to something else so that His Son can walk on it. Just stop and think about that: The God whom we have come to worship tonight, the God who pursues us, this all-powerful God merely speaks, and reality, time, atoms, and molecules come into existence. Since the beginning of creation, these have always been under His control so He can perform the miracles we read about in the Gospels: He turns water into wine, heals physical and mental illness, and merely speaks to give life to the dead. What an awesome God!
And remember, He is as loving as He is powerful.
The second half of creation week is about inhabiting what is still inhabitable. He makes the stars and places them in the heavens, puts fish in the seas, releases birds into the skies, and creates animals and, finally, humans to fill the earth. The earth does not have the innate ability to produce life; it is a gift from God.
In the story of Jesus, we see again God speaking and miraculous things happening.
An angel appears to Mary, telling her that by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, you will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be… called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign… for ever; His Kingdom will never end (Luke 1:31ff)
God spoke Jesus into existence!
As we look at the whole story of Jesus’ birth, angels are everywhere; speaking to Joseph, the man Mary was betrothed to marry, to the shepherds on the hill side, and to the Wise Men. On all of these occasions they declared the word of God, instructing them what to do. You see, they were being presented with the truth of who God is, a God of life, and God who offers us the best in life.
In showing God’s truth these angels tell us that God can be trusted, that He has plans for us, plans that are to prosper and bless us, not to harm us, after all He sent Jesus into the world to save us, not to condemn us.
So Just as the world, created by God, is His gift to us, Jesus is God’s gift to us! Through this second creation we have an opportunity to be restored to good relationship with God.
Let’s allow Genesis 1 and Jesus’ birth to enlarge our vision of God so that we can begin to see the immensity of who He truly is. So How big is the God of Jesus Christ’s church? Have the pains of life become so large that they control our attention? Has the God of Genesis 1 and the story of Jesus become so unsatisfying that the gods of this world compete for our affection — pleasure, absence of pain, power, independence?
The truth is this; our God is the God of both Genesis and Jesus, the One who speaks all things into existence. The One who is sovereign over absolutely everything. The One who is wise beyond anything we can understand. The God who is worthy of being pursued with every ounce of passion in our body and spirit; the one to whom we cry out in our pain, to whom we hang on to in times of trouble, whom we serve, and whom we glorify in our obedience to His teachings and commands.
As the angels opened up the minds of those involved in this story may we allow God to open up our minds to the truth that is found in Him, the truth that Jesus is His Son, the one who came to make us right with God because as our Saviour He saves us. And may we allow God to open up our minds to see Jesus as the one who is anointed to bring healing to all people and all nations of the earth.
The bottom line is this, Jesus, brings life and restoration to every inch of the universe.
So let’s embrace the opportunity that Christmas gives us, to rejoice by raising our eyes to the God of life in the wonder of all that God has done, and is now doing, through His Son Jesus Christ, and accept the baby as our Lord and Saviour. In the name of the one true God. Amen