As we think back over the past year there are some things that stand out in our minds that were exciting. Good reports such as getting the job you wanted, getting married, buying a new home, relationships restored. But none of this changes the struggles and the pain that we and the rest of the world face. Even as we celebrate Christmas today, people are hurting everywhere in the world and in our local community.
It was into this kind of world that Jesus was born into. People were poor, oppressed and killed by the Romans; many children died before their first birthday; children were killed by the soldiers of their own king – King Herod. I wonder if Mary and Joseph ever wondered why God would send a child and such a special child - into a place like Israel – a place where there was so much oppression, violence, death and poverty. There is a reason, it was for you. Luke 2:11 “To you!!! is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Christ, the Lord”. Through Jesus, God is reaching out and touching us and saying: ‘I know your life, I know how it can be, the things you love and that make you happy, and the things you struggle with and how hard it is hard.’ God says: to you is born this day, a Saviour,
Christ the Lord. There is no doubt to whom He is speaking when He says, to you is born this day, a Saviour. He is talking to YOU!! He isn’t talking about the person you may be thinking of. He is talking to You!!
This child whom the angels announce is the one who will save you from the guilt that weighs you down and stops you from getting on with life. He saves you from that nagging feeling that somehow you have to measure up, but knowing that there is no way you can meet God’s standards. He saves you from a meaningless existence. If all there is to life is being born, growing, learning, working, getting, achieving, dying, stop! To you is born a Saviour who says, ‘Your guilt is gone’. To you is born a Saviour who allows his hands to be nailed to a cross to rescue from sin.
When we look at the baby in the manger we wonder why God would go to such extreme lengths for you and me. There is only one answer – God’s love. Jesus is God connecting with you, wanting to give your life purpose, wanting to help you when it seems life is tearing you apart. “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Christ, the Lord”. Enjoy the spirit of Christmas and all of it’s splendor, celebrating Jesus in a manger but don’t take all the decorations down and the mangers scenes and forget about Jesus until next year. We need Jesus all year long. Not just once a year for a couple of days.
If He is still this cuddly, lovely little baby and not much more, do something different this year. It is a cute tradition that has meaning during this time of the year, but then it is back to our normal lives.
The very thing that will change your life is Jesus and we forgot Him in the manger and we need Him. We need him all year long. As we learn about the story of Joseph and Mary, the angels, and Jesus in the manger. Don’t let the story end there. Let Jesus heal the hurts this year.
Blessing from our family to yours,
Tony Werner is pastor of the Alamosa Christian Church.