Christmas is a time when we particularly remember God with us – Emmanuel. A time when we remember how God lived and dwelt amongst us. Many of us have heard these verses from the message translation:
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.
And often our immediate response is to try and apply these words to ourselves:
What are the implications for us?
How should we live our lives incarnationally?
These are good questions. But first and foremost this is not about us. Ultimately, Christmas is a time when we remember the Incarnate Christ laying down all his rights, all his divine privileges, and coming to earth as a baby, born in a shed.
It’s not about us. It’s about Him.
What was the response of Mary on realising the blessing of the baby in her womb?
What did the Shepherds do when they returned to their flocks?
And what did the Wise Men do when they visited Jesus?
Their common response was worship and praise. Christmas is a time for us to re-focus our gaze on Jesus, to re-orientate our lives on Him; all that He is and all that He sacrificed for us. It’s a time to re-calibrate and allow our minds and our hearts to be transformed by this incredible reality:God in heaven chose to live amongst us, and died that we might live.
And after encountering Jesus, what was the natural overflow response of the Shepherds?
To tell others. They told everyone. Their lives were changed after seeing Jesus and they just couldn’t keep quiet.
So as we encounter Jesus, let’s follow him into the mess of those around us, knowing that God has met us in our mess. Let’s go to the least, the last and the lost and live amongst them as Christ did. Let’s lay our lives down for each other, and love as He has loved us.
We know we’ll get it wrong sometimes and make mistakes. And that’s the whole point of Christmas: We can’t do it, so God sent someone who could, and who still can.