Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Grace

In just a few days we will celebrate the birth of Jesus. Though we celebrate His birth in December, the evidence is clear that He was not born in December. We have nativity sets that include three wise men and we have no idea how many wise men came to visit Jesus, and it most certainly wasn't at His birth. Though He was placed in a manger, there is not even good evidence that He was born in a stable.

The first two chapters of Matthew and the second chapter of Luke give us what has come to be known as “The Christmas Story.” Those chapters are used for countless Bible studies, sermons, and church Christmas productions this time of year. It’s great to know that, in the midst of Santa Claus, reindeer, and snowmen, the real meaning of Christmas still rings out from churches across America and around the world.

As I've contemplated this Christmas season I must confess that the passages from Matthew and Luke are not my favorites this year. Rather, I like the first chapter of John, in particular John 1:1-18.

1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  He was with God in the beginning.
3  All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
4  Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.
5  That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.
6  There was a man named John who was sent from God.
7  He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him.
8  He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
9  The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10  He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him.
11  He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.
12  But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,
13  who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
14  The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15  (John testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’”)
16  Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness,
17  for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18  No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son— the One who is at the Father’s side— He has revealed Him.
John 1:1-18 (HCSB)

Over 2000 years ago, when Jesus was born into the world, He was already older than time. The most amazing aspect is that He left His home in glory and took up residence among us. And now we receive “grace after grace” from His fullness.

This Christmas, as you exchange gifts with family and friends, and as you sit down to enjoy your Christmas dinner, take time to meditate upon the kind of love it took for Jesus to leave His home to dwell among us so that you and I can experience grace after grace.