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Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Meaning of Christmas

 Christmas. The older I get the more I fall in love with it. I've always enjoyed this special time of year. There are so many things about it that speak hope and joy to me: the music, the festivities, the decorations, the traditions…
 But recently, I've come to see a deeper meaning. A finer message. I've come to know a profound truth underlying this celebration. I've known all my life that Jesus is at the center of this season. But now I realize something else: the meaning of Christmas is that God gets down low. God enters our messy. God chooses to step down from His glorified state and embraces humanity and all its shame.
 Think of the stable. God didn't arrive into this world in a kingly manner. He didn't come in a palace grand, a stately manor, a castle strong, or any house man would consider fit for royalty. He arrived in a place where animals lodge. In the stench and mess of a barn, He slipped out of His virgin mother's womb and took His first breaths. He was fully God in human form. Born to carry out his Father's will and redemptive plan. For the longest time, only his youthful mother and father knew about Him.
 Think of Bethlehem. How many slept that night yet had no idea that their Sovereign Lord was in their midst!
 Think of the Innkeeper. Turning away the opportunity to welcome the King of Kings into the world! And yet, how often have I done the same?!
 Think of the shepherds. Treated as the lowliest in the society, they became the first outside of the immediate earthly parents of Jesus to be told of His birth! How I wish sometimes I could have been there to hear the angelic chorus singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!" Such a moment must've changed their lives forever. Can you even begin to fathom how humbling it would've been to kneel before the manger and realize that this baby would one day grow up to save the souls of mankind?!
 God, by design, chose to reveal Himself to the least of these - in the least of places. Because He wanted to identify with us. In our filthiness. In our unholiness. In our pain. Only on the cross did He fully take on all this to Himself to pay our price; however, He did live in and walk this fallen world. He did touch the broken and the sick. He saw what we see. Felt what we feel. And Who would know better how to touch and heal us still??
 Christmas is about more than just a baby being born. It's about a redemptive plan being put into action that would offer hope to a world lost in its own sin and messiness. God meets us in the places that are our soul's darkest. Those low depths where no human would ever trod. He goes there. He invites us to welcome Him to where we need Him the most. Christmas is about Emmanuel. God with us. God come to dwell with fallen men. Christmas is the truth that unto us, a child is born. A Redeemer is given. One who sets the captive free and whose love has no beginning or end. This is the meaning of Christmas. So let the carols ring out and the celebrations go long. I will rejoice in the fact that a holy God didn't leave humanity in their shame forever. I will thank - because He stoops down low in the stable places of the heart and takes residence there.