A very happy Christmas to you all.
Christmas is a good news story, really it is but it may not look like it from first appearances. God did not come to make himself look good.
Jesus was not born into a royal family in a palace with all the trappings of power, privilege and prestige, but to a young teenage peasant girl from the wrong part of the country, a garrison town to an occupying army. Nothing good could come out of Nazareth. Or could it?
Jesus was not born into a nice clean palace, or in a nice clean maternity ward with the latest equipment. Jesus was born in very humble surroundings with an animal feed trough as a bed. It was not the rulers of the people and priests that greeted Israel’s long-awaited Messiah, but some agricultural workers on a night shift.
But the humble nature of Jesus’ birth has a lot to tell us about the nature of God.
The nature of the Godhead and the nature of the incarnation are linked to the Christian hope for resurrection. See what Paul said in Philippians chapter 2.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. — Philippians 2:4–11 ESVUK
I find it strange that people celebrate the birth of Jesus without thinking about the reason for the coming. The birth of Jesus is just the start of things. God is incarnate on earth in Jesus, Emmanuel, God is with us. Now. Jesus born, died and resurrected did not leave us alone. God is present on Earth in the 21st Century.
Theological jargon coming up, bear with me.
Christmas celebrates the balancing point between the transcendence and immanence of God. Hope is both transcendent and immanent. Transcendence means God is very different to us, mighty God, creator. Immanence means that he is so near that he can be touched. Our hope is both yet to be realised and already here because it has already done in Jesus.
- Because Jesus is born God’s justice is here in Jesus.
- Because Jesus is born God’s freedom i3 here in Jesus.
- Because Jesus is born God’s grace is here in Jesus.
- Because Jesus is born God’s love is here in Jesus.
Let us worship Jesus today.