I am a sucker for the sweeping epic tale of the hero on a world-saving quest: That’s actually the part about Christmas I love the most. The Christmas story is one chapter of the most epic adventure ever written.
We need this story. Amid all the hubbub and general cacophony that surrounds Christmas, we love to retreat to the picture of the sweet baby in the hay, softly lit, with gentle music playing in the background. And yet, Christmas is just one part of the much bigger story of how the Saving God of all history rides to the rescue of a dying world.
He comes to the rescue, but he does not arrive at the head of a great army mounted in the full panoply of war. Instead, he arrives alone, through pain and blood and mess, just like any other baby. Later in the story we see that his rescue plan has nothing to do with military conquest. Instead he suffers his own pain and gives his own blood, and then rises again from his own death. What a strange way to go about a rescue!
It’s a story that turns our expectations upside down, humbling the proud and raising up the lowly. It’s a story full of surprise and wonder and amazement -- and the part with the baby is just a piece of it. But that piece is crucial. It teaches us who Jesus is.
As the Apostle John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” Jesus, that little baby, is the God who comes to dwell with us.
That is why what Jesus did matters so much. He didn’t merely come to set a good example or to speak wise words. Because he is God in the flesh, his birth, death and resurrection change the basic foundations of reality so that we have real hope. He rescues us when we could not rescue ourselves. So when the noise starts to overwhelm you, remember the rest of the story.
And the best part is that God invites us to participate in this story – to become part of God’s saving work in Christ. When through faith we trust in who Jesus is and in what he has done, we enter into God’s epic story and actually become part of it. That is the promise of Christmas and the Incarnation.
So, may the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and everyone with you this season as you play your small part in God’s epic tale.
Grace and Peace to you all