at the Water's Edge


Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Reflections on Christmas

This Christmas, I really want to reflect on what we are celebrating and why we have reason to celebrate.  Yes, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”  But, I’d like to look a little deeper than that.  What does it mean that Jesus came to this earth, why did he come, and what is the significance to us? 
Let’s start by considering this passage: “…an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means “God with us”).”

The Hebrew root of the name Jesus (Yeshua) comes from the same word as “to save”.  The name Jesus means “he saves.”  Jesus came to this world to die, that through his death, the penalty for our sins would be paid and we could be restored to community and fellowship with God. 

Note that Jesus was also called Immanuel: God With Us.  God lived a human life on this earth through Jesus.  The apostle John says it this way: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).”  I see this as a foreshadow of the rest of eternity where the dwelling of God will be with man and he will live with them (Revelation 21:3).  This, the Incarnation—God becoming a man—was also arguably the greatest miracle of all time.

In his book Miracles, C.S. Lewis reasons that, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation.... Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.... It was the central event in the history of the Earth—the very thing that the whole story has been about.” I think we have a tendency to overlook how truly amazing this is: God, the Creator, entered into his creation.  Lewis continues, "He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still ... (to) the womb ... down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him."  The incarnation is what God uses to unite all of creation back to him and to reconcile our broken world. 

In order to save us, God had to become like us, to become one of us.  The book of Hebrews tell us that “…he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death… For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Notice that last sentence.  Jesus was human – he shared in our suffering, and then some.  He is able to help us in temptation and human suffering because he’s been there, with us, one of us, through worse trials than we can imagine.  He came because he LOVES us, and was willing to give up EVERYTHING in order to have a relationship with us.  “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).”  As the apostle Paul says to the young pastor, Timothy: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15).” 

There are a few other passages that I think give additional insight into Jesus’ mission here on Earth.  1 John 3:8 tells us that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  The devil worked to get sin and death into the world first by deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden.  The world has been broken ever since.  Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and through Him we have life and the hope that all things will one day be restored.  Jesus himself said it this way: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).”  

Just before he was crucified, Jesus told Pontius Pilot, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me (John 18:37).”  Jesus’ mission was somewhat multi-faceted: to be a sacrificial atonement for humanity; to destroy sin in the world; to become our high priest who intercedes with God for us; to help us in our troubles; to live as an example for us; to not only save us from death, but to bring us into the life that is truly life; and to testify to this truth.  It is because of these things, because of this mission that he lived out, that we now celebrate the birth of our Lord and all that would ultimately be accomplished through Him. 

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ABOUTME

Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!

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