Our worship leader read parts of this blog entry at our Christmas night of worship. I wanted to post it here to share with all of you. Enjoy!
I think we celebrate Christmas in a vacuum.
We do our best to turn our attention to Jesus. We meditate on his coming, the circumstances, the gift. But I think we forget what his coming was for.
Christmas is a rescue. God coming to rescue us. It is an act of humility, love and sacrifice unparalleled in the history of the world. But the act does not take place in a vacuum. The act is not primarily to show the greatness of God. It does show his greatness. But the act has a fierce intention to it, the whole drama is fiercely intentional, and the object of this act is you and me; the purpose is our rescue and restoration, to bring us back to God.
Why have we lost sight of that?
I think in part it’s because of a doctrine we’ve embraced – call it the doctrine of “the worthlessness of the rescued shows the surpassing greatness of the rescuer.” It is a very popular doctrine. I think it got in under the belief that in order to promote the glory of God we must give no quarter to any idea that human beings have intrinsic worth. Thus the popular phrase, “I’m just a sinner, saved by grace.” Or, “It’s not about you; it’s about Jesus.”
The doctrine is deeply ingrained in the church, and deeply damaging to our relationship with God. Because it is untrue.
Something profound takes place in the soul of a person when they know they matter; when they know they are prized. It changes them. All questions of tit-for-tat are swept away; there is no longer any room for fear in the relationship. They know they are loved, and it evokes love in return. Someone who is recued has a deep and profound gratitude to the rescuer. “You would do this for me?” But if their rescuer said, “I did not do this for you; I did this for me. I did it to prove my greatness. In fact, your complete unworthiness to be rescued is part of my plan to show my greatness.” Could you imagine the relationship having any sort of future?
Christmas is the most stunning rescue story of all time. Under cover of night, in a remote village in Palestine, in a world held captive by the dark prince, God comes to earth as a human being, a little boy. He invades the human race in order to rescue the human race. Satan is furious, he lashes out desperately to try and stop the invasion. The angels go to war. But God cannot be stopped. He will ransom and restore his beloved. The beauty of the act cannot be adequately expressed.
And what are we to think of the ones God would go to such lengths to rescue, and at such a price? How precious they must be. They must be worth a great deal to him. Inestimable worth. And that is why the soul felt its worth. At least, that ought to be the effect of Christmas upon us.
I think this will help us to celebrate Christmas for what it is – as a daring rescue. Not in a vacuum. In the context of love. I think it will allow us to be stunned at the way God goes about things. To fall in love again with his amazing heart. And to allow ourselves to experience some deep shift in our soul, as we come to feel our worth. We must really matter.
Please visit The Ransomed Heart Blog to read this excerpt in its entirety.