“Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.”
The coming of our Savior is God’s glorious expression of grace. Our Savior is a gift, a holy and drenched with love gift. This gift is not something we conjure up, strategically initiate, or purposefully pull off. We really had nothing to do with this gift, except of course providing a critical reason why a Savior needed to come in the first place; to save us from our sin, or if you will, to save us from our narrowly boxed–in addictions to ourselves. Our Savior’s coming is all grace and all gift. The prophet’s foretelling, the angel’s announcements, old Zechariah and his barren wife Elizabeth, Mary’s submission and her song, Joseph’s despair and then dream, the no vacancy inn, the barn stall with manger, the Shepherds, Wise Men, the flight to Egypt, it’s all grace and it’s all gift. It is for us, for our taking, for our embracing, for our liberating salvation!
All these heavenly and earthly realities, a grand mixture of miracle, mystery and the mundane, are making known that God the Son has assumed human flesh. I am struck by the juxtaposition of heavenly splendor and the mundane ordinary earthy realities, aren’t you? The incarnation of the Son of God is all miracle! A staggering miracle. Breathtaking. Maybe the universe began with a big bang with God in charge. But the coming of the Son of God in human form, and that as an infant is a catastrophic explosion to the cosmic order, and certainly to any notion that the universe is some sort of closed door reality. The Kingdom of heaven has now come. God is with us! But so much of this unfolding miracle is with truly ordinary folks in an earthy way, who barely understand what is happening in them and around them. A barn stall is earthy and giving birth there is really earthy! However grand, glorious and out right miraculous is the coming of our Savior, it is intended for us messy and mixed-up ordinary earthlings.
This whole story is for us in our ordinary journey. It is not just intended to stir our imagination, but to capture our imagination, in order that our ordinary human earthiness might be both accepted and transformed to be what God intends. It’s a big story, a really big story with cosmic implications that in one sense starts with your heart and mine. A story designed to transform the entire cosmos, in that this infant proves to be the One reconciling all things to himself, even you and me. In so doing, he brings peace, hope, joy and the divine manifestation of love. The Gift takes stony– hearts and makes them hearts of flesh. The Gift takes stubborn, jaded hearts and makes them receptive and curious. The Gift takes disillusioned and despairing hearts and gives purpose and comfort. The Gift, in all his magisterial beauty and glory, is so earthy and tangible it touches and transforms blockheaded fishermen, greedy tax collectors, self-righteous pharisees, and out-right derelicts into passionate sacrificial lovers of God and one another.
The Gift and the story of the Gift, is God saying in ways we barely grasp and comprehend, “I love you.” He loves us, and because he does, he comes to save us from our self–destructive entrapments. He saves us from our narrowness, our pettiness, our self-deprecation, our stubborn pride, our guilt and all the other outrageous ways we try to manipulate, control, and attempt to maintain our illusion that we are in charge. Our Savior and his salvation comes in all this earthy mess, inviting us to trust him. Yes, just that, trust him. He suffers and dies to right our souls before our creator and judge. And he says, trust me! He comes that we might become who we truly are, and he says trust me! He saves us, really, personally and literally saves us by grace through faith.
I am reminded of Jesus words in John’s Gospel. “You did not choose me, I chose you.” Amazing. In all our stammering, fumbling fits of love and worship, the words of our Savior ring out to us, “I’ve got you! It’s up to me! You’re riding my current of grace! Rest in me! I’ll make sure you make it home!” Every last bit of this salvation from beginning to glorious end is grace and gift. Enjoy worshipping the new born King, our Savior, and Merry Christmas!