Summary: Because of Christmas our lives have been defined both for the there and then as well as the here and now.
It was almost as if someone had dragged a stick though the sand drawing a line that said that was then and this is now. There has never been an event in the history of man that has so defined human history as the birth of Jesus.
And it began when God interrupted the life of a young lady named Mary. And now all she could think about was how different the line had made her life.
As she made her way along the road she wondered about the sense of it all. Although she had agreed she still couldn’t understand why. She lived in a poor country that was occupied by a foreign army, violence was never far away and often during the night you would hear soldiers entering the home of neighbours looking for the patriots they had called terrorists. Even as she made the trip with her husband she was shocked with the conditions that lay outside the small village they called home. The poverty she saw on her travels was an eye opener for a young woman who had never wanted for food. Her family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but her hard working father had always provided the food and shelter the family needed.
Occasionally she would see lepers in the distance, scorned by society and pushed far away from those they loved, and there were the beggars who lined the busier sections of road, men and women who couldn’t see or couldn’t walk, dependent on the kindness or pity of strangers just to survive.
On their journey she even saw a crucifixion, she had heard about the horrors of the executions the Romans performed, but to see those victims left hanging on the primitive crosses was horrible. So much despair and sadness could anything ever change the way her world was. She wished that there was something she could do to make a difference.
It wasn’t that many months ago that her life had been simple, engaged to be married, she dreamt of the life that lay ahead of her, and this wasn’t it. An angel had appeared to her one night with a story that she couldn’t believe. She was told that she would have a child, a son. And she knew that wasn’t to be, after all she had never been with a man, had not even held the hand of her fiancé because it just wasn’t done. And now she was being told that she would be a mother.
The messenger explained that it would be a miracle, that the Father of her child would be God himself and the child would be the Son of God, in fact God himself. What could she do? She knew that she was a virgin and if she became pregnant then what the angel had said must be true, she believed him, but would anyone believe her? How could she explain this to her parents, her friends? What would she say to the man she was engaged to? “Hi Joseph, guess what? I’m pregnant, but don’t worry I’ve been faithful, God’s the Father.” Joseph might just be a carpenter but he certainly wasn’t a stupid carpenter.
Why did God choose her? Ss a matter of fact why did God have to do this? Come as a child to this cruel and hostile world. I’m sure that question would surface time and time again as she raised this child she would call Jesus.
The question is still valid 2000 years later, people still ask: Why did he come? Why bother drawing a line in time? What difference does it make? We know that the line that was drawn redefined Mary and Joseph’s lives, but how does that same line that was drawn two thousand years ago define lives today?
Well there are those who would tell you 1) The Line Defines an Eternal Life For some folks that is what it is all about. The burning question for them is the same as it was for the man who came to Jesus in Luke 18:18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” And that answer to that is given in by Jesus himself in John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Throughout history humans have sought to reconcile themselves with God and they haven’t been able to do it. I don’t have to go through the plan of salvation here, you already know it. You understand that we really don’t deserve to go to heaven and that in our own power and through our own efforts there isn’t anything we can do that will make us worthy of eternal life.