The Message of Christmas
By Sunny Philip
Christmas is the celebration of the great mystery of God. The mystery is not how God became a human but why God would want to become a human being.
The words of a well known hymn sum it up succinctly.
I cannot tell why He, the King of Heaven,
Should leave the peace of all eternity,
Why God Himself should lay aside His splendour
To leave the Father’s side and come to me.
1. God can be known.
God reveals himself to humanity. But this revelation is shrouded in mystery
2. We don’t need to know everything about God.
Christmas tells us
1. About the true nature and value of humanity. That God would choose to become human is a good indication that to be human is not such a bad thing. To be human is not the problem but how we choose to live as humans is the problem.
2. That humans are worth redeeming – not re-making.
3. That humans are not without a destiny – we have a future and a hope. Our hope is not that we have a future. We have hope because God is with us – Immanuel.
Why was Jesus born in a Manger?
1. Because there was no room in the inn. Yes, that is true. But that is not the whole truth. Birth of Jesus in a cattle shed was not the result of certain unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances.
2. Because it was God’s chosen sign. “This will be a sign to you.”
a. Often we assume that God does certain things because he has no other choice. Not choosing any other is not the same as not having a choice.
b. It is not a sign of rejection by the world. Leave the poor innkeeper alone. He was not a bad man. No room was the occasion rather than the reason for Jesus birth in a manger.
In what way is the manger a sign for us?
The manger reminds me that
1. The sovereignty of God does not demand a demonstration of the power of God.
a. God is sovereign even as a helpless baby in a manger.
b. God in Jesus refused to use his supernatural power to his advantage.
2. The power of God is not demonstrated in the subjugation of his enemies but in his identification with his people.
CS Lewis in the Narnia stories graphically illustrates this aspect of God through the person of the majestic ASLAN, the lion. Though Aslan has unlimited powers – even to destroy his enemies- he surrenders himself, not in weakness but for the purpose of redeeming even those who hate him and are fighting against him. This is how the transforming power works. (By the way, how many of you have heard of the movie “The chronicles of Narnia” soon to be released in Australia?)
God could have used his extraordinary power to bring people under his authority and control. But he did not and that is a greater demonstration of power. Our greatness is not in what we do but what we actively choose not to do.
3. The power of God is manifested in his humility. The lowly birth of Jesus (the manger) was not symbolic of the humiliation of Jesus but his humility and humanity.
What does it mean to make room in our hearts for Jesus? How do we make room for Jesus in our hearts?
THOU didst leave Thy throne
And Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home
Was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus!
There is room in my heart for Thee.
Making room for Jesus in our hearts is not the antithesis of “no room” in the inn. In fact, making room for Jesus in heart should mean moving in with Jesus into the manger. By giving Jesus room in our heart we are not rescuing Jesus from the manger. The manger is our identity with Christ.
Making room for Jesus means:
Choosing to live in humility
Choosing to exercise the power to influence rather than the power to control.