What comes to mind when you think of the Christmas story? For me, I think of things like shepherds, barn animals, wise men and angels. While those things are part of the backdrop of the birth of Jesus, let’s not stress them too much. It is important to note the nativity story is an evangelistic one. The Gospel writers recorded it with the assumption that we would spread it to others.
Sometimes, we can reduce it to a simple formula of creation-sin-Jesus: God made the world, we are sinners, and Jesus was born to save us from our sins. To simplify it to this formula is not necessarily wrong, but it is incomplete. The story of the birth of Jesus Christ is much more profound. The birth of Jesus is the beginning of a radical story found in Matthew, Luke, and John. The world-changing idea they stress is that Christ came to die for sins, defeat Satan and destroy the devil’s works, and to reestablish the reign of God in the earth. God sent Jesus to start a movement. Because the king is here, a new way of living is possible.
Christmas is about celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ. It is understanding that all of creation will one day be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and while we consume everything from cake to cars during this season we must make sure we also consume the fact that His birth was an announcement of an impending redemption of the cosmos.
Christ’s birth is a time for us to look for signs of hope in our world, signs of God's love breaking into our everyday existence. We should rejoice that baby Jesus grew up! He went from a babe in a manger to One who has overcome the enemy. We believe that in Christ, creation has come full circle.
So, this Christmas, let’s rejoice that we are offered a choice. Will we follow the way of Christ and place our confidence in the hope offered through Him? Or will we follow the way of the world which offers us no real hope whatsoever? What a blessing to make the choice of becoming a Christ follower.