Merry Christmas. The Day After.
Christmastime is such a rich feast for the senses, isn’t it? It’s the sights, sounds, tastes, scents... literally ALL the feels. It’s seeing the many lights strung on the homes in our neighborhoods. Or hearing the songs of the season (even repeatedly) - as long as it’s not “Last Christmas” by Wham or that Mariah Carey one (again!). For me, the taste of panettone is special to remind me of this season, as well as the scent of the evergreen Christmas tree. I just became a proud scarf owner for the first time in my life and the warmth of scarves and sweaters as I and my family walk with the winter winds in our faces is such a sensory pleasure of the season!
What are some of the sensory experiences you associate with Christmastime?
Christmas is hopefully a time where God reminds us that he cares so deeply about creation. reminds us that God cares about creation. He celebrates the senses and loves that we enjoy them. He doesn’t want to end our sensory enjoyment of His creation, rather he wants it to continue in the best possible ways!
Another name for the Messiah is Immanuel. That means “God with us.” Take a moment to consider that. God with us. Not God against or over us but God with us.
While there are many religions and philosophies that think their god could never enter this broken world, Christianity is different in that respect. God doesn’t despise or reject the world, he actually enters in WITH US, to redeem all of creation.
The birth of the Christ child, his arrival, means many wonderful things, but here’s the thing I think you can take with you the day after Christmas:
Christmas means that God has begun the process of redeeming all aspects of his creation. He didn’t given up on it and just destroy it. Instead, he entered into it and began the process of renewal of his creation.
The arrival of Jesus means hope has come, the promise is fulfilled, new creation is breaking in. Peace is returning because Love is embodied in Jesus.
In a world of sickness, he brings healing.
Where people offer judgment, he brings forgiveness.
Where we oppress each other, Jesus brings liberation.
Where we are in bondage to our self-rule, Jesus offers freedom in his ways.
The birth of Jesus is a glorious and remarkable thing. Jesus comes as an unlikely hero by our world’s standards. He, the most powerful savior, shows up as a helpless baby. Yet, he demonstrates, even in his birth, that the way things were always intended to be in this creation is different than the way things currently are. What we think is NORMAL may actually be backward:
Power in meekness.
Riches in poverty.
Joy in suffering.
And now, when Jesus comes to return things to the way they are supposed to be, what is universally considered normal for creation may seem backward for us.
The baby messiah is a reminder for all of us that perhaps things aren’t yet how they are supposed to be AND perhaps HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE truly have arrived in Him.
I believe this is true. If you do too, here’s what this means for you:
Because Jesus’ new creation “project” has begun, by faith we get to be new creation people in this world.
In spite of what we see around us, we have evidence of something to hope in and therefore get to live in the light of that hope. And that can change everything for you and those around you!
While evidence of violence and unrest in our city, country, and the world is ample, we have insight into a peace that surpasses all understanding and can be brought into our neighborhoods, cities, country, and the world.
While there are many things to discourage, irritate, or even depress us in the world around us or even in our own hearts and minds, there is a Jesus, who came as a baby, to restore joy into this creation. To bring it to you.
And while discord and even hate seem to rule the day in our time, God doesn’t despise his creation. In fact, he so loved this world that he sent his son, Jesus, into it, to show us what love is like and what love does. Love doesn’t have to agree with us to rescue and redeem us. Love patiently restores.
Christmas is a celebration that marks the beginning of God’s new creation project. He hasn’t given up on us and he’s offering something much greater - the renewal of all things.
Until then, we, by faith, get to be a people who live in light of this. We are new creation preview people. The trailer for what’s to come: living as a demonstration of what God is like, proclaiming what God has done, and praying for God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
For the next 365 days, we get to live this way. That's what we can take away from Christmas Day.