Christmas is only days away, and many of us are still trying to catch our breath as we ask, “Where has the time gone?” However, it is never too late to reflect on the meaning – and the miracle – of the birth of Jesus Christ.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many of our churches will proclaim the Good News of the birth of our Savior from the Gospel according to Luke:
“Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:4-7, NKJV)
Today, I would like to share with you three specific ways that, from these humble beginnings, the incarnate Son of God changed the world – and our lives – forever.
First and foremost, the birth of Jesus marked the beginning of the road to our redemption. Thirty-three years later, and just six miles from Bethlehem, Jesus died an agonizing death nailed to a cross outside Jerusalem in order to give us eternal life (John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 1:7-8). The baby from Bethlehem truly was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
Second, the birth of Jesus set in motion a series of events that would change our understanding of God. No longer was God to be perceived as angry, judgmental, or cruel. No longer was He to be feared (1 John 4:18). Instead, the newborn whose cradle was a manger – a feeding box for animals – showed us that God is love (1 John 4:8-9, 16b), He loves us more than we can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9), and He wants all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
Third, the birth of Jesus began His lifelong mission to show us that mercy and forgiveness are not something reserved only for members of the same family or tribe. Mercy shown to all – even our enemies and those who hate us (Matthew 5:43-44) – is one of the ways we can be more like God (Luke 6:36), and forgiveness is the pathway to our own peace as well as our own forgiveness (Matthew 6:12, 14).
This Christmas, celebrate Mary’s firstborn Son, because He truly gave the world something to celebrate. From the cradle to the cross, Jesus Christ is Lord!
-- Dr. John Morris