I am in the Christmas spirit now more than ever.
I understand the story of Jesus now more than ever before.
The Christmas story is not just about baby Jesus being born or his birth in a manger because there was “no room in the inn.” It is not just about the strength of Mary and Joseph or the good Jesus does during his time on earth.
Christmas is a time set aside to celebrate the fulfillment of prophecy and the deliverance of God’s people – us.
The story of God is an amazing one – unbelievable to many. It is a story of grace, mercy, and love – even since the beginning.
Studying Old Testament in school this year has challenged my faith. It has made me wonder, doubt, and stand in awe of the power of Yahweh. I am overwhelmed at the power of God and how He demonstrates it throughout history. Since the beginning, God has used people – silly, often stupid people who mess up all the time. Just read the Old Testament.
But we are really not much different from the people in 1400 BC. We complain like the Israelites, who expected more from God after He delivered them from Egypt. Sometimes we don’t believe God’s promise like Abraham and Sarah when they were promised a son. We make excuses and coward away from following God’s commands like Moses. We give into our own desires like King David and Wise King Solomon. Even the whole book of Judges is dedicated to showing how God delivers His people – time and time again – as the Israelites worship other gods before Him and only turn to God in times of trouble.
Did they really deserve Grace from God? Do we?
No, not really.
You see, God doesn’t actually need us. He just wanted us, and He chooses to love us, like parents who decide to have a child. How would it feel for parents to have been forgotten about by their children? How would it feel for parents to watch their children constantly mess up and destroy themselves? This is how God felt, and feels, for everyone. And I think we forget that.
I wonder how the Jews of the first century felt, watching Jesus fulfill over 300 prophecies from several centuries before. I wonder what it would have been like to know the history of your people, how they treated God and each other, and realize that it doesn’t matter anymore.
I wonder what it would have been like to offer sacrifices to God as a payment for sin, and I wonder what it would have been like just to realize that it is not required anymore.
I wonder what it would have been like for the High Priest to enter the Holly of Hollies and find that the curtain that separates the presence of God form the rest of the world has been torn in two – that there is not separation anymore.
I wonder what the people thought when they heard the long-awaited Messiah was born to a man who came from a line of barren women, prostitutes, murderers, and lustful men. I wonder if Joseph and Mary ever believed they were crazy. I wonder if they thought they were unusable by God.
God saved us. He came down to earth in the form of man, Jesus, for us. He came from an imperfect family in an imperfect way for His imperfect people.
He saved the uncooperative Israelites, the unbelievers, the murderers, and the disobedient. He saved us, the forgetful, the prideful, and the impure. He saved us, not because He had to, but because He wanted to.
We are a lot like the people from the dramatic and horror-filled Old Testament. This world has not been perfect in a long time, from same-sex attraction to killing innocent people. Just read the history.
God still came through. God still saved us, and He still loves us.
Christmas is more than the story of a baby being born in a manger. It’s the story of God coming to earth to save every messed-up generation, and this is the greatest gift of all.