Wednesday, December 8, 2021

         The Bible opens with four powerful words—in the beginning God.  Those four words, or six syllables, are the finest theology that you will find anywhere.  Because God was in the beginning (and the only One in the beginning), He gets to make the rules for the creation.  He sets the standards.  He alone charts the course of human history.  These opening words in Genesis tell us that God acts with purpose and precision.  God’s purposeful actions are never clearer than what we discover in the Christmas story.  Matthew 1:18 says, “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew’s gospel makes it clear that God had already determined how the Christmas story would unfold.  God had decided to send His Son as the Messiah.  God had chosen Mary as the mother and Joseph to be the earthly father.  And God produced Mary’s pregnancy through the actions of the Holy Spirit.  Right away, we also see that all three members of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) were involved in the good news of Christmas.
            On this day, we take a moment to celebrate the purposeful actions of God.  He never acts reflexively or haphazardly.  He knows the course of history and how to bring His people to where they need to be.  God never just hopes things will work out in a favorable way.  He knows the beginning and the end of everything because He alone was in the beginning.  The Christmas story comes around once a year to remind us that, yes, there is someone in control and in charge of the universe.  Our God reigns. 
            God selected the place where His Son would be born.  It was not Jerusalem, Rome or any other first century seat of power.  The location was Bethlehem—the house of bread.  The place where Jesus was born teaches us that He came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.  God chose the first bed for His Son.  It was not a cradle of platinum or gold but rather a manger—a place where likely animals had been feeding not much earlier.  This manger would teach us that Jesus is the bread of life.  If we lean on Him, we will never hunger.  The site of His birth was near a field of shepherds.  This site teaches us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who never leads His people astray.  He is the Gate for His sheep.  The star that guided the wise men to Jesus would remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.  Those who look to Him are never left to stumble alone in the darkness of this world.  The lack of a proper room for Jesus teaches us that His desired place to live is in the hearts of His people.  He is our Immanuel—God with us now and forever.
            When you read the Christmas story, think about the messages that we find in all the details.  Each detail reflects God’s purposeful actions and ways.  Let the majesty and rhythms of the Christmas story give you comfort and consolation amid the chaos of the ever-changing world scene.  If your life is a bit dizzy, come back to the first words of Scripture—in the beginning God.  May that truth console and anchor you in any storm.  The enemy, Satan, would love to convince us that God is weak, powerless and aimless.  Satan would have us to believe that God has been toppled by him and the creation.  Don’t buy that lie.  Don’t take that bait.  God is the still in the same place He has always been—on the throne.  God was on the throne in the beginning and He will still be on the throne when the final “Amen” of Revelation 22:21 is declared someday.  May your Advent journey be a blessed one.  Remember you can share our worship at    

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