“’This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” Luke 2:12-14
WEEK #4: THE INCARNATION
Light the Candle of Peace
Read Isaiah 9:6
They mystery of the incarnation is that God became one of us—God in the flesh. “For unto us a child is born”. But not just any child—but the One who is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
Ponder the wonder of this incredulous act performed on our behalf. It is a doctrine we dare not ignore, for the amazing reality of the Incarnation draws us to Himself, as it did the shepherds that night. This was a birth worthy of the heavenly host assembling in that country side to sing praises to God, for who lay before us that night was Mighty God, Prince of Peace in the flesh.
That grand moment in human history is so far removed from us in our day that we easily miss its significance. We have created our own traditions which, if we are not careful, can obscure the wonder of this night.
Millions of exhausted Americans rush through the holidays glad that another shopping frenzy is winding down and a new year waits just beyond the horizon. Of course, there are still gift exchanges to be done, Christmas decorations to put away, and pounds to be shed after all the parties are done. When it’s all over, will we look back and say “Is that it? What did I miss?”
Just like last year, our misguided focus on things causes us to miss the whole point of Christmas… again. We missed His coming. Oh, of course, we read the Christmas story and sang some carols. But we still missed His coming, and His peace.
The Central Message
Jesus came to dwell among us and reveal what it looks like to love as the Father loves. His time on earth began with a manger and ended with a cross and empty tomb. But it’s not the end of the story. He will be coming again.
Central to the whole Christmas message is that this Savior whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, and whose life was sacrificed for ours, will return again and raise us to immortality. Those who love Him and follow Him will be raised to eternal life in a new heaven and new earth. Those who missed His coming, and therefore, His everlasting peace, will face judgment in His Second Coming.
On that day, the Savior who came in the flesh as a baby, will come as a mighty, all-powerful King to reign forever. We will reign with Him in absolute peace! That is the point of Handel’s famous Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah oratorio: “And He shall reign forever and ever! Hallelujah!”
Do you believe that—you know, the Second Coming of our Lord and our bodily resurrection? What about how you observe Christmas suggests you believe it? Craig Blomberg, New Testament Professor at Denver Seminary, is right: “If we really believed that one day the new heavens and new earth pictured in Revelation 21-22 will be ours forever, we’d stop trying to get everything before we die and be content to wait, using our goods in this life to serve the least, the last and the lost.”
What Does Your Life Say?
So, how about it, Grandma and Grandpa? How does the Christmas story affect your peace? What will your grandchildren learn about the peace that passes understanding from your life? Will they learn that life is all about stuff—the person with the most stuff wins? Or will they discover in you an indescribable peace because Christ is your greater treasure and delight?
Christmas will be over in two days. Perhaps this would be a good time to re-establish new priorities and perspectives about peace on earth in light of eternity rather than trying to find it in all the stuff we lavish on one another. As the New Year approaches let’s build our life purpose around the wonder of God’s love, and a fervent commitment to love as He loved us.
Who knows… it just might rouse another Hallelujah chorus from the heavenly host singing His praises because His peace is indeed evident among His people.
GRANDPAUSE: “The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; And He shall reign forever, and ever, King of kings and Lord of lords, Hallelujah!” –Handel (Hallelujah Chorus)