Joy to the world, the LORD has come. Let earth receive its King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and Nature sing.
Christmas is the time when we celebrate the greatest miracle ever–the willingness of an all-powerful God to become like one of us in order to save us.
He has shown the depth of His patience and His wrath throughout the history of His interactions with us. In Old Testament times, He called His chosen people “stiff-necked” and punished them with as much passion as He subsequently forgave them. Through chance after chance, the Israelites moved toward and away from Him in an ebb and flow that lasted thousands of years.
When a baby was born to a virgin in a manger, God’s people were marking off almost 400 years of silence from Him. Further, if a Messiah had come, they expected Him to be a champion who blazed against their enemies and allowed the Israelites to rule the world, overthrowing their Roman oppressors and making sure they never again were slaves.
Intead, what they got was a man who instructed them to “turn the other cheek.” The Kingdom Jesus came to establish had absolutely nothing to do with earthly rule as the Israelites understood it.
More than 2000 years later, some have still not heard His word, and some might argue that we of His Kingdom are at a stage where we are also “stiff-necked,” turning away from Him in a time when we most need what He has to offer.
For those who have accepted the salvation Christ offers, a gratitude based on the humble realization of just how little we deserve God’s love and sacrifice should be the first thought we have upon rising each morning and before we lay down to sleep each night. It should also be a gratitude that colors the way we treat everyone around us.
No one’s love is greater than God’s love for us. And the best news of all time is that His love is available to all of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, as long as we are willing to reach out with both hands and grab it–gratefully.