First Posted: 12/25/2008
Today the presents have all (probably) been opened. Amid the clutter of empty boxes, crumpled paper and discarded bows, weary parents heave a sigh of relief as they contemplate the end of the clean-up. Aside from the delighted laughter of children and the warmth of family get-togethers, what was the meaning of all the activity that led up to that single day we call Christmas? Even in this land of the Bible most people are hard-pressed to come up with a serious definition of the Christmas event, though it constitutes a major moment in the lives of millions.
If you obtain a book that promises to unveil for you great truths in life, and open its pages and there discover it is written in a foreign language, you feel great frustration. If you are to unravel its mysteries you will need an interpreter, someone who understands the language of the book and your own language. Thats where Christmas comes in. In the birth of the Christ-child, God sent mankind an interpreter. And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us, (Matt 1:23b). That sentence is one of the most amazing statements in the entire Bible.
Serious students of life have for ages been searching for the real meaning of life itself. The age-old questions of: Where did I come from? Where am I going? And what is the meaning and purpose of my life while I am here? Such questions have baffled men for all the ages of their existence. Life is like a book written in a foreign language so that its real meaning remains wrapped in a veil. An interpreter was needed. Gods response to that need was to send a baby, divinely entitled Emmanuel: God with us! It was this child who would grow up to interpret God to mankind. It was (and is) God interpreting God to all who would come by faith and hear the Word of the Lord.
What great truths did Jesus reveal? Perhaps none was greater than the fact that the Father God is not a distant divinity but rather is close at hand. Behold, the kingdom of God is within you, (Luke 17:21). He also taught that men could pray Our Father, a warm, loving friendly term, the equivalent of a child saying Daddy! In his interpretation of God the Father, Jesus replaces the image of a cold, stern and distant God who is seeking out those he may punish with the image of a warm-hearted loving God who is willing to forgive erring ones, who accepts eagerly those repentant hearts who come to Him. Rather than dwelling at a distance, God is so close as to note the fall of a sparrow, hear a poor widows cry and defend the rights of the helpless. According to Jesus, God the Father is like the father whose younger son left home and lived riotously until he was broken in wealth and health; yet upon his return home that son found a loving father who welcomed him with open and loving arms, not with reproach (Luke 15).
Maybe you didnt know God was that close when your family opened the gifts on Christmas morning. If you realize how close the heavenly Father is, youll also know that Christmas is not a one-day holiday but a continuing adventure in living the kingdom life daily throughout the year. In Jesus, you have an interpreter who makes it possible. In that sense, Merry Christmas every year.