Sunday, December 25, 2016

Better than a Hallmark Christmas

December 25, 2016

Were we to believe that the Hallmark Channel has the true skinny on the real meaning of Christmas, we would think it has something to do with two people who are beautiful inside and out overcoming the obstacle of persons who are externally handsome/beautiful but are character cads. The truly beautiful, after being deceived by those who are in reality users and takers, discover the truth and find true love, all at Christmastime. Extra credit is awarded if one of the beautiful/handsome persons is from the country, with a Norman Rockwell family while his/her nemesis is city born and bred and stands to inherit wealth from a money-grubbing family.

I am grateful tonight for the wonderful family time we had today, celebrating Christmas with food and gifts, followed by Abi's birthday party as the day wound down. The smiles and laughter, the games and conversations filled my soul to overflowing. But all that is only a minor byproduct of Christmas. Even the warm, fuzzy feelings we conjure up as we sing Silent Night, imagining the Baby in a manger don't tell the real story of Christmas.

Christmas is all about Incarnation; the Almighty and majestic God squeezing himself into human flesh for our salvation. As the ancients said, he became one of us so we might become like him The Scriptures in my reading for today tell the story:

The kindness and love of God our Savior appeared. I have loved you with an everlasting love: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Great indeed, is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Since then as the children share in flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

Titus 3:4, Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 4:9-10, Galatians 4:4-5, John 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 2:14

I am thankful tonight for the real Christmas; not just the tree and ornaments, not just the gifts given and received, not even for family gathered in joy, but for the stark reality that our human situation was so desperate that God was willing to embark on an amazing rescue mission that culminated in a Cross, but which led to a resurrection and ascension, and will finally conclude with Christ's return for his own and a kingdom that shall have no end.

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