Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Best Life There Is

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)

When we revisit the Christmas story, the problem is that we can become so familiar with it that we become indifferent toward it. In time, new things become old things. And Christmas can become an old story for us.

But let’s not miss the entire point of Christmas.

The story doesn’t really start in Bethlehem; it starts long before, in another time and place. The time was eternity, and the place was Heaven. Before there was a planet called Earth, before there were Adam and Eve who ate forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and brought the curse of sin upon humanity, a decision was made in Heaven.

The decision was that God would have to become a man and die on our behalf.

John 1:14 says, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (NLT). And Revelation 13:8 describes Him as “the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made” (NLT).

God had His own timetable. Galatians 4:4-5 tells us, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (NLT).

That is what we celebrate at Christmas: that God sent His Son to this earth. Jesus was God in human form, Immanuel. It’s a magnificent story. From a literary standpoint alone, these words touch us deeply. But this is more than just great literature. This is the truth about how God came to Earth.

Specifically, Jesus came to a little village called Bethlehem. The Scriptures foretold His birth, saying, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf” (Micah 5:2 NLT).

Because Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of King David, they went back to David’s boyhood home. God moved human events to accomplish His purposes. He moved Caesar Augustus to declare a census, which brought Joseph and Mary from their hometown of Nazareth to the village of Bethlehem.

Things also were in place around the globe. At this point historically, all the nations of the world had been united under one system of imperial government. Rome had bludgeoned the world into submission, vanquishing its enemies.

With the absence of conflict, people concentrated on literature, philosophy, art, and religion. They were probing and searching. It was as though something was in the air—and it was. The time was just right. God was sending His Son.

Jesus came to bring us the meaning and purpose of life. In fact, He said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10 NLT). Medical science seeks to add years to our lives, but only Jesus Christ can add life to our years.

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