Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Christmas Gospel


Over the last few years I’ve written several blogs posts about the gospel. One might wonder how or why a writer would feel the need to address the subject again and again. And, well, again. It’s Christmas and I want to write about the gospel. This is my twelfth gospel post, and Christmas is the right time for it. I’ve had enough of shopping. Wrapping. Baking. Happy musical programs. Fun nativity hayrides. Enough Ho-ho-ho. Enough jingling of the bells hanging on my office doorknob. Enough eating a peppermint nougat with a Christmas tree in the center every time I walk by the candy dish. Enough already.


The one thing I will never get enough of is the gift. Not the one under the tree. By this time next year, I will have likely forgotten what I got for Christmas this year. The gift I won’t forget is the one God sent down from Heaven. If it weren’t for the arrival of the perfect Son of God, there would be no gospel. The event wasn’t so unusual. The birth of Jesus was like that of every other baby, except He wasn’t born on a clean bed in a warm room, but in a manger—a cave where animals were kept. It was His conception that was out of the ordinary, not his birth. The birth was messy. The little Lord Jesus probably did cry—he was a human baby as much as he was the God of the Universe. What a sweet mystery. An ordinary coming of an extraordinary baby into the world. It was indeed a night for the miraculous.

A visitation occurred that night in the fields nearby. Some shepherds met up with the Heavenly Hosts. Perhaps the shepherds guarded the sheep that were to be sacrificed in the temple. Of course, those men were not supposed to leave the sheep, but when angels sing of God’s glory and tell you to go look at a baby who, by the way, is the Messiah, well, you do it. In awe and wonder, they turned from the old sacrifice and set out to meet the new, the final sacrificial Lamb. Did they realize God was changing the course of history? Ending the curse of sin and death? Inviting the sons and daughters of the lost world to come home to the Father?

Without the birth, there would be no death. No resurrection. No redemption for me and my fellow broken human beings. No sacrifice great enough to cover us. Whatever gift I find wrapped under the tree, it can’t bring the joy, the awe, or the everlasting promise of the Gift that came to hang on a cross.

So, this holiday season I will sing of the promise. I will meditate on the Gift. And I will write, again, about the gospel. It’s all I want for Christmas. And while I remember the newborn babe, I will envision the soon-coming King of Kings. 


For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness

    
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    
will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6,7



If you want to read my other gospel blog posts, here’s the list. Just click on the titles. Read one every once in a while to remind you of the Gift.