I don’t know of any time of the year that brings home the meaning of what God has done for us like Christmas — unless it is Easter of course! But this whole thing about the Creator of the universe, the I Am, the Son of God, coming down to us to be born as one of us — it’s incredible! So much has been written, I have nothing to add, except to express my own wonder about the reality of this transaction, transition, transmission! All of nature and history surrounds this happening. For years the Jews waited and longed for the day of His appearance. And then it happened — though not at all like they had imagined. Now we look back and are amazed at the profoundness of such simplicity! And we live and work in anticipation of His coming again — His final coming.
His coming has made such a difference in our world and in the lives of so many of us in a personal way. The entire world is arrested by the beauty of this time of year — the grace, the friendship, the feasting and gift-giving. Jesus’ coming has meant the introduction of grace into an otherwise dark and barren existence. His coming has brought the beauty of truth back into the world. It has meant grace on so many different levels, not the least of which is the gift of salvation through the sacrifice of His life. And the personal effect of this for me has been absolutely huge.
Though the fact of Christmas is very much a miracle, it also makes such good sense. And though the world seems so confusing at times because of all the crazy things that happen, the Christmas story assures us that there is an order, there is a plan, there is a purpose that will be realized. And we can know that our lives are fitting in with that plan.
I am far away from home as I prepare for Christmas this year. I am experiencing, in some very small way, what incarnation is all about. I am seeking to identify myself with a people and a community that are entirely new to me. I have known no one here before this time. I am walking by faith taking each day as the Lord gives it to me, learning to understand and listen, learning to love and appreciate the lives of those who live in another world. I am only here for a few weeks at a time, before going home in between. But each time I come, I realize in a very small way, what it must have meant for Jesus to come to our world for 33 years of existence among us.
I love the blessing of being able to get to know people just like myself in another part of the world. I do it by faith and the strength that God gives me. For it isn’t always easy since so much of it is foreign to my own world and my own home. But I do it because this community and these people too have an appeal by virtue of their creation and their redemption in Christ. And as I extend myself to get to know each of them, and to listen, I am amazed by the beauty of their lives. They invite me into their homes and their lives and as I listen I try to take in the uniqueness of how God has made each one and how He is seeking to work out His will in their lives.
At times I try to speak words of grace and wisdom, perhaps even correction. And they respond. It’s a wonderful dynamic that is patterned after what I think Jesus tried to do when He came down to us.
Soon I will be going home for the celebration of Christmas. I look forward to spending a little time there with my dear wife, some family members, and friends. It will be great to be back in my own environment, enjoying the blessings of home. But right now, I am preparing for Christmas by seeking to identify with the One who came so many years ago.