At this time of year, the Christmas story narrative invites us, as it did with wise men over 2000 years ago, to search for the child – that is, to discover the Christ child and to worship Him. ‘For the Grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people’ (Titus 2:11-14).
At Home Porch & Patio Kits, we use this opportunity to reflect on the most important questions in life. After all, what we believe about God profoundly affects how we see ourselves and how we conduct ourselves daily.
Not everyone has waited for and expected salvation, in the sense that the Christmas narrative teaches. Christians worldwide celebrate the incarnation, an actual historical event recounting real people and their experiences.
The verse quoted above applies to a broken, sin-soaked world, including all nations, cultures, & generations, where the kindness of God is manifest to them in the person of Jesus Christ. However, suppose you are like many of our friends & family. In that case, the big question at this time of year is why isn’t that salvation, which is apparently for all people, more obvious?
The story of the wise men is illustrative of an answer in that they each went searching in response to a dream (Matthew 2). While Israel was in exile, Israel’s prophet declared of the Lord’s salvation, “And you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Though God’s grace pervades and sustains, it does not remove the need to seek Him.
In an age where personal offense is everywhere, it even translates to people being offended that they might need to search for something already revealed. Behind the offense is the expectation that God should manifest himself in ways that are acceptable to them. What if God showed up like Arishem at the end of the 2021 movie Eternals, large enough in space & time for all the world to see at once, and declared himself as “Creator & God?” Few would bow their knee, and the world would declare war against this extraterrestrial. Man’s selfish arrogance is remarkable.
Christmas is a celebration of the proof of an answer already given. Yet why is it so understated in terms of the event itself? A child born in obscurity, the humble offering of Scripture and subjective Christian testimonies seem beneath the God of the universe in His desire to make himself known in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The answer, probably unsatisfactorily to most, is found in the nature and character of God.
Christ Himself taught that seeking is required before ‘the finding.’ When He is found, He is to take the place of every other possession we have; to have Him. We have now hit the heart of the offense to a broken and sinful people. Born in opposition to God, it is offensive to us that not only is Christ’s redemptive nature somehow hidden from us, but if found, He is to be our ‘all in all!’
The God of Creation is not bound to perform in ways that meet our demands and expectations. He does not suffer from low self-esteem, requiring our acceptance. The fact is we already know and fear Him as God. However completely we suppress that truth, it does not go away.
What He does at Christmas is provide a way by which we can become un-estranged and live as adopted children in a familial relationship with Christ as the Head. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood are not needed. Modern-day experts and scientists need not weigh in. The Apostle Paul writes, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21) God’s nature is such that He works according to His wisdom. It is an act of folly to believe that the wisdom of the created thing could in any way exceed that of its Creator.
Christmas is the historical narrative describing the incarnation “…for unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.” It reminds us that we are to approach & know God for who He is. We are to do it as determined by Him, not how we imagine things should be. He is not impressed by a passing reference to Him being a possible explanation for the universe’s existence. There is no other path to God.
We all believe and act based on what we believe about God. No one searches for that which they do not want to find. A sincere search is only accomplished by one who recognizes their own arrogance, ignorance, and audacity. The Lord promises to “…resist the proud, but give grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
This Christmas, let us either be reminded of or even discover God’s mystery in the manger for the first time – Christ the Lord!
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