YOU ARE THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Christmas is God’s answer to our problem of lostness and separation and guilt. Christmas is how God has chosen to do it. The angel announced the Christmas event as good news of a Great joy. It was announced with the glory of God and the presence of Angels. Wise men sought him out. And old prophet and prophetess had been waiting to see this Child and they announced him as God’s fulfillment of the promised Messiah. Something happened on that day. God put into motion his sovereign plan, one that he had in his mind from before the foundation of the world. And that plan involved God becoming flesh. God came to us in the form of a baby. He became one of us.
Why did God choose to do this? Paul gives us the succinct answer in Galatians: 4:4 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” It was no accident that Jesus was born into a scandalous world. It was at the right time, the exact moment in history when it was most effective. God Himself sent his Son, born of a woman and born under the law. It was God’s full intention that Jesus should be born under the burdens and trials that we are under. The purpose was redemption.
Paul said that we were under the Law and we were held captive to the elemental things of the world. God set forth his Law to guide us. The Old Testament Law revealed God’s character and his standard for our lives. But for fallen, sinful humanity, the Law became our enemy, our accuser, our judge, our jury.
We need to come to terms with our own sinfulness. We are not good; rather, we are moral failures. We cannot stand up to God, neither can we work our way to Him. In our fallenness, we are like a broken machine, we just can’t function. And we feel it. It manifests itself in depression and in tension and in anxiety and darkness and in so many other ways. We all feel it. But some of us have not named it, it is called sin.
Not only are we fallen, so is our world. Our sin brought about change to our world. Things happen that should not happen. What was meant for good is not used for evil. Paul said that we were slaves to the elemental things of the world. To the early Greeks, the elements of the universe were thought of as earth, wind, fire and water. Later added to this were the sun, the moon and the stars. It was believed that the elements of the universe were controlled by spirits or gods and goddesses and that they were at constant war with each other. Thus, nature was demonized. The elemental things came to be understood as the Spiritual powers of this present evil age. They are the rulers of this age, the principalities, powers and enemies of God of the demonic world. Their goal is to separate believers from the love of Christ. And to this end, they will use trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, destruction, hatred and death.
In our modern language, these elemental things of the world are the anti-God social forces that drive our culture. These forces are expressed by greed, meanness, immorality, selfishness, materialism, and power. Paul was saying that instead of belonging to God, we belonged to the demonized elements of this world. We are, fallen, lost, condemned, and hell bound.
God Himself, at the right time, at the exact moment according to His plan, entered human history in order to deliver us from our guilt, the fallen world, and our own sin. This One who was born under the same conditions as we are and who faced the same darkness as we do and who knows our suffering, was and is God. He is God in the flesh. The Incarnation is how God chose to redeem us from our sin and destruction.
Not only did he redeem us, he restored us to sonship. He made us His children. In the genealogy of Jesus, Luke begins with Jesus and ends with Adam and this is how he puts it, “Adam, the son of God.” God fully intended for us to live as sons and daughters of God. He fully intended that we live life in an intimate relationship with the creator of the universe. Sin marred that intention, but salvation restores it. Paul says that we have received the adoptions as sons. God has sent forth His Spirit to fill us and give us the right to cry Abba, Father. We do not address God as some cold and distant god. We now call God father because we are part of his family. Redemption restores us. We are no longer slaves to sin or the elemental things of the world, but sons and daughters, heirs of God.
This plan is not the end of things. God did not start a plan and then abandon it. No, he will bring it to its proper conclusion. God promises that he will restore all things. John described a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem come down from heaven. The Tabernacle is no longer a place but a person. Jesus is our Tabernacle–to be incarnate is to be “tabernacled,” to be embodied. We no longer meet God as a holy presence in a Temple or Tabernacle made with hands, we meet him face to face. And when all things are put right, there will be no more tears or sorrow or death. Life will be as it was intended to be in the Garden. And we, who are sons and daughters of Adam, are also Sons and daughters of God. Christmas reminds us of what God has done and what he is yet to do.
Why Christmas? Why did God become flesh? What is the reason for his journey? You are. We celebrate Christmas because that virgin born Baby is our Savior, our Redeemer. God became flesh for you and me. You want to truly celebrate Christmas? Begin by coming to Christ by faith.