Summary: In Jesus Birth, the New Creation has begun
New Creation at Christmas December 16, 2007
I was talking with a friend this week about all the accesses that happen at Christmas, and how the retail ales system has taken over this celebration of Christ’s birth. We can respond to it in two different ways – at worst, we can just buy in (literally) and join the frenzy, or we could go the exact opposite and reject everything secular about Christmas, but then we are at risk of forgetting that it is a celebration. The fact that the outside world makes such a big deal out of Christmas without paying much attention to Christ, gives Christians the opportunity to think about what we are really celebrating.
Read the passage from “the voice”
I want to go back to the beginning of the story, when Gabriel shows up to Mary, and she’s trying to figure out how she can get Pregnant without a man. Gabriel explains that "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
The picture that is given is the same picture that we have of the Holy Spirit’s work at Creation in the Book of Genesis where the Holy Spirit is hovering over the Chaos like a mother hen hovers over her eggs to hatch them to life. The Holy Spirit broods over the chaos and hatches creation, and she broods over Mary and hatches the new creation that is Jesus!
We actually don’t know the date when Jesus was born – the reason that we celebrate his birth at this time of year is that, in the northern hemisphere, the nights have stopped getting longer, and they are getting shorter: the days have stopped getting shorter, and they are getting longer. The light is coming, the old is passing away, the new is coming.
In Jesus, we are celebrating a new creation – a seed planted in the old creation that will one day come to complete fullness and we will live in the new creation.
The good creation gone bad…
Renewing creation through the flood – bringing back the waters of chaos. In the end the new start did not work.
But this time God brings back the Spirit, to hover over the chaos that we’ve created out of his good creation, and he has birthed new creation!
Paul talks about how just as the first Adam brought about the fall of creation and death, how the last Adam, Jesus, brings about the rising of new creation and life!
This is how Isaiah describes this new creation:
The Servant of the LORD
1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope."
5 This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 "I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."
God doesn’t start this new creation by sending a flood, or an army, or a lightning bolt, but by sending a child – a helpless baby born to a homeless family in a backwater province of the Roman Empire.
This is how Robert Southwell describes this new thing that God is doing in military language: (Robert Southwell was a Jesuit Priest who was martyred by the protestants at the age of 34 in the 1500s) New Heaven, New War, p. 116 in The Roads from Bethlehem
“if thou wilt foil thy foes with joy
then flit not from this heavenly boy”
We celebrate Christmas because God has begun a new thing!