The Christ of Christmas
The Infinite Enters Time
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to leave the glories of heaven and enter this sin-cursed earth. Jesus, the Maker and Sustainer of the universe, the One who brought all that there is into existence by a word, became one of the most helpless creatures on this planet. He became a human baby. The infinite entered time. The One who was pure Spirit became flesh and bone. He became Emmanuel: God with Us! And in that body He has identified Himself with the human race forever.
I. The World He Entered
The world our Lord entered was a sorry mess. Not that he'd made it that way, but man in his pride decided that he could do things better than God. And because of this sin had all but destroyed the original pristine creation that came from the sovereign hand of a holy Creator. Man's inhumanity to man abounded. Christ entered a world of rape, murder, theft, war, extortion and any other sort of vice of which the sin-warped human mind could conceive.
He entered a world that cared very little for God, and didn't even notice that child who would forever change the course of history and existence itself. God didn't make an announcement to kings, queens or other officials that His one and only Son had begun His mission to bring the human race back to Himself. Instead He announced it to lowly shepherds who were not even welcome in polite society.
He wasn't born in a palace, but in a stable, and was laid in a manger, an animal's feeding trough. He wasn't born of royalty, but His mother was a poor young virgin woman who became the wife of a carpenter. Jesus came, not to impress, but to save. He came to show God's love, mercy and forgiveness for all mankind, and not just those who have some standing in this world.
II. The Teachings He Gave
Most people are fascinated with the teachings of Christ. He taught us that the highest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and souls. And He told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. But not only our neighbors, our enemies as well. For anyone can love a friend. It takes a special person to love an enemy. Jesus informed us concerning the Kingdom of God and said that he who would be great in it must be a servant.
Our Savior demonstrated who God the Father was, not by telling us, but by showing Him to us. For when we see Jesus, we've seen the Father. Indeed Christ taught not as a Scribe or a Pharisee, but as one who had the authority of Heaven, for He came from Heaven.
III. The Mission He Fulfilled
The teachings of Jesus, though great and marvelous, pale in comparison to the mission He came to fulfill. The familiar John 3:16 tells us that God loved this world so much that He gave His only Son. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came to destroy the works of Satan who is the eternal enemy of God and all that God wants to accomplish. Christ was born to die the death that sinful mankind should have died. We deserved to be separated from a holy God for eternity. Now, by faith in His name, we can become like God and share in the eternal rewards of Heaven. He suffered and bore our sins upon the cross so that we don't have to suffer an eternity in Hell, separated from a Holy God.
And God the Father accepted that sacrifice for sin. This is demonstrated by the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and will one day return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to take His rightful place on the throne.
III. The World He Left
In many ways, the world Jesus left seems unaffected by His entrance into it. Since He returned to heaven, man's inhumanity to man still abounds. There is still rape, murder, theft, war, extortion, and any other vice of which the sin-warped mind of man can conceive.
But it is also changed. Lives are touched every minute of every day by the life-changing message of the Gospel. Families are brought back together, addictions are overcome, friendships are restored, and men and women are healed. People are given hope for a brighter future. And those who lose loved ones through death are comforted by the fact that they will see them again. These things, and many more, will one day become a complete reality when we see the one who died for us coming out of heaven. He will come, not as a lowly infant, but as a conquering monarch. And the world He left will answer only to Him.
Everything is affected by the Christ of Christmas. His death, burial and resurrection has touched every inch of the universe in some way. And He's left each of us with a decision to make. Are we going to accept Him as our Savior, Lord and King? Or do we choose to ignore Him like the world at His birth? One day we will all bow before Him as the King. The question is, will we bow before our Savior, or will we be forced to bow before our judge who rightly condemns us for our sin? As surely as He came once, He'll come again. The question we all need to ask ourselves is this: "Am I ready for His return?"