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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas is about Messy Relationships and Receiving a Gift

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." - John 1:14

It's hard to believe 2014 has almost come to an end! This next week, we will be celebrating Christmas. This holiday has stolen our radio stations, our TV's, our homes, and if you work in retail, our sanity. But this time of year truly is “the most wonderful time of year" for personal reflections for many. Amidst the chaos of shopping, “Elf”, and long hours, let’s take time to reflect on what Christmas means for us, whatever our perspective

What is Christmas about?

The problem is when people go about doing "Christmas reflections" they are often reflecting on their own idea of Christmas, not the actual one. Reflection on our own ideas will lead us to nothing but pride and arrogance. Today's Christmas reflections can often be self-indulgent and legalistic. "Was I giving enough?" "Did I spend enough money?" "I sure hope they like what I got them." "I'm thankful I am so fortunate." These can be good things to think about, but they miss the point.

Christmas has never been about us. Christmas is about God. If we are going to take Christmas seriously, we must see it as Christians do (Say what you want about it being a Pagan holiday, so are the days of the week, but no one is whining there). And for Christians, Christmas is about mystery.

The mystery of Christmas is found in one word...wait for it...incarnation. As John 1 puts it, the "Word became flesh." The Divine perfectly united with the human. The inconceivable was conceived, while never ceasing to be eternal and infinite. The Infinite became finite. In darkness, the light entered the world. God- in the flesh. Christmas is about God.

The Triune God sought to save a rebellious humanity through an obedient human, Jesus Christ. He came as a man, so that He could truly sympathize, but was God so that He would be a perfect sacrifice. He was made man so that He could suffer; He was God so as to be without sin. Two natures, one true person, He was without conflict in mission. His mission was to "save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). Only Jesus could do it.

Therefore Christmas is also a celebration of the cross. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, bearing the wrath of a Holy God. Jesus would die, be buried, and rise again to conquer sin, death and Hell. By faith in this work, He rescues and ransoms people for His glory.

Yes, Christmas is about gifts. A gift. The gift of eternal life. And that is what Christians celebrate and what personal Christmas reflections call us to. We are called to reflect on the gospel- the good news- the work of Jesus Christ and the glorious mystery of His incarnation which is foundational to the gospel itself. We must reflect on the incarnation because without it, our gospel has major holes in it. In fact, without the duo-nature of Christ we have no salvation.