Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, 2008!

This has been a different kind of Christmas for New Life Church. I've canceled more services in the past 11 days on account of snow than I've canceled in my whole life.

Some things don't change at Christmas, they are not different year after year. The advent of the Messiah, the coming of Jesus, combines the great themes of the Bible and of God's purposes for the ages:

  • The Glory of God. The birth of Jesus is the manifestation of the glory of God. The angels said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14). The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:20). Christmas, like everything else, is about the glory of God.
  • The Happiness of Humankind. The glory of God and human happiness are not antithetical, they can be one in the same. We didn't make up Joy to the World so we would have something to sing at Christmas. It was God's idea, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." (Luke 2:10).
  • A Savior. The angel told Joseph to call the baby Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21). God had long been in the business of saving people from their self-chosen alienation from him. His son is the fulfillment of his saving plan.
  • God With Us. Emmanuel: God with us (Matt 1:23). God in human in flesh, walking among men, to restore us to relationship with God is the essence of the incarnation. God is with us.
While we can shun God and attempt to distance ourselves from him. We can reject the savior. We can disregard our eternal happiness and refulse to glorify God. Yet, in the birth of his Son, God is bringing all those things together. So that he can be with us, be glorified, save us and make us eternally happy. If that doesn't make Christmas happy, nothing will.

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