December 24, 2012 by JesstheMess
It’s the night before Christmas, the sun is shining in true southern hemisphere style and amongst the hype, food, fun and presents it is easy to lose focus on what we are actually celebrating. Some maybe unsure, simply enjoying the holiday, others resentful of the opportunity to remember what they are lacking. Some maybe excited by the gifts, the anticipation of receiving, while others ask what the fuss is. Why do we still celebrate the birth of a baby, some 2000+ years later? Isn’t there something more relevant?
We need to start Christmas aware of the situation we are in, remembering we have a problem. Mary did. This young woman, born into poverty in a nation oppressed under Roman rule, along with every other woman of the time, was waiting watching for the Messiah, the one who would save. Mary responds to her relative Elizabeth’s revelation of the blessed child within, not with the significance of her position but in recognising her need of a saviour.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour…” Luke 1:46-47 ESV
She knew she lived in a broken world, it was all around. She knew she was entangled in sin and that she needed saved from the sin in her own heart. We too live in a broken world, entangled in sin, where even the good we do is a problem.
Aware of our problem, we, like Mary, long for a solution. Christmas becomes a marker, a date on the calendar, pointing toward this solution. The solution being God, Creator of heaven and earth, coming to dwell amongst us. He is the one who was broken, who faced the tangle of sin but was never entangled, who was good and never bad, who defines what is good and always loved His father perfectly, Jesus Christ the hope to escape brokeness, entanglement and all things good. He faced the grave, death, the consequence of sin. He died, though he did not deserve it, for us that did. Yet death could not hold Him. He arose, conquering death, so that death no longer wins. Now at His Father’s side praying for His people, he prepares a place, awaiting the day of His return to gather his people for a glorious future together free of entanglement and brokeness. This solution, becomes ours, simply through trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” Acts 16:31 ESV
The solution seems simple, the way celebrating a baby at christmas seems simplistic. What can one baby do to warrant such a celebration, amongst so many, for so long? The mission this baby completed, is something no human could do. It was both complicated and yet simple. It is simple because as a free gift of grace to those who will believe him, trust him, & follow him, there is need of nothing else. No list of good works, impressive references or self inflicted punishment are needed. It is paid, or as he said as He completed it, “It is finished” (John 19:30 ESV).
Simple, yet complicated, in that beyond what we can comprehend here and now, death no longer means death. This baby at the mere age of 33 went to the cross, it looked like He and His kingdom lost. What looked like defeat was in fact conquer. Mary in accepting her role, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV), was destined to ridicule, the loss of provision if her fiancé left her, or even death if charges of adultery were brought. Yet this hardship she accepted was also her salvation, the hardship also blessing. Her poverty, joining with her Saviour, who would eventually bring her the riches of life evermore. Likewise the complication that though we might follow Him now, we continue in hardship, in the battle with sin till through death we conquer, or he returns face to face forever.
This complication also brings hope. It means that this is the time for salvation. Christ has not yet returned, you can lay hold of this message in all it’s simplicity. Trust that Jesus completed His mission from “God with us” to “It is finished”, believe on Him and you will be saved. I can think of nothing more relevant, more worth celebrating in this broken, sin entangled world.