Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Word Became Flesh!

In this fast-paced, commercialized world, it is difficult to cut through it all and recapture the joy and wonder of Christmas that we felt as children. In our worship service today, our pastor spoke of watching children as they receive and open their gifts. Smiles play over their faces, their eyes sparkle, and it's all they can do to contain their excitement. He then gave an excellent reminder about what Jesus said about receiving Him like a child. It's hard for cynical, world-weary, worldly-wise adults to do, but we'd better learn. Because those who don't receive Him with the same trusting, thankful faith as a child will not receive Him at all.

This is a message I was thankful to hear, not only for the reminder to myself, but also because it's of a piece with what I have been talking about this week here at The Seventh Sola. Brothers and sisters in the Lord, we've got to slow down and tune out the noise long enough to remember the real wonder and miracle of Advent:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace (John 1:14-16).

Can you imagine? The Word become flesh. God Himself in the flesh. Immanuel, God with us. The Lord Jesus, who said, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." The Creator Himself, who humbled Himself to come and buy our pardon.

I love to think about the Second Coming, the return of the Lord. It is right and comforting in this troubled world to long for it. Jesus Himself is spoken of as having the attitude, "for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). For the joy set before Him. But before that joy, he had a cup to drink and a cross to endure.

It is typical among Christians to attach sort of a different mood to Christmas than we attach to Easter. Maybe that's because things have become so commercialised. Yes, Christmas is about the birth of the Savior, but why did He come to begin with? Resurrection Day is about Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, the denouement of his first Advent. The final denouement is to come with His second Advent. I sometimes think we'd be much better served spiritually if we wouldn't compartmentalize so much. It's all one immensely important story.

I know some will want to argue with me about this, and that's fine. But I really do think our whole understanding of who we are and why we are here, and who God is, are better served when we can look at the big picture. In reality, the picture is too big for our finite minds, but God is faithful to grant us the gift of revelation. He has revealed to us what He wants us to know. Sometimes it takes a little digging, but we CAN know what He expects of us. We have His Word on that.

I am so thankful for Jesus, and the choice He made to be obedient to His Father in humbling Himself, taking on the form of a man, dying on the cross for my sins and rising from the dead for my justification. I am thankful that He has promised to return and receive me unto Himself. I am thankful that I have the hope of heaven, but also thankful for the privilege of serving Him on this fallen world in the presence of His enemies.

May we all purpose anew to bring Him greater glory in the days we have left by living lives pleasing to Him. May He enable us to be better witnesses of His grace, mercy and truth.


Anonymous said...

the first paragraph of this blog is an absolute gem! Our pastor this morning was talking about the elation of children as they recieve presents and he was using it in the context of giving. We can create that joy in a child, because of the things we give them, and we also need to have that joy in us because of what god gave to us that very fist christmas.


SolaMeanie said...

Here's another interesting corollary that just came to me in a bit of introspection.

Today, when someone gives me a gift, I tend to squirm uncomfortably. I am not sure why. I often wonder if it's because I think that gives me an obligation to the giver. But that's not how I am supposed to be.

In addition to being cheerful givers, we are also supposed to be thankful receivers. A child is a thankful receiver. The gift of Christ should always fill me with joy and thankfulness, just like a child.

Maybe one of these days I'll learn the balance of being "wise as serpents, but gentle as doves." Or having the innocence and wonder of a child, yet being spiritually discerning enough not to fall for the enemy's deceptions.

Thanks for checking in.