Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
The story of Christmas, like all epic stories, begins with a problem. How can a holy God reveal the solution to man’s evil ways? No one doubts evil. It send prodigals to run off to far countries, compels ruthless dictators to slaughter infants, and fuels jealous kings to grasp for power. Our world suffers under the destructive hand of evil and its merciless consequences.
What we see in that manger is the revelation of a God who knows what it’s like to be a Father. Parenthood draws us closer to the highest joys and the deepest sorrows of God. We’d do just about anything for our children. Bethlehem and Golgotha are proof that a holy God would do the unthinkable for you. That’s what love does. That’s also what makes parenthood so scary. Parenthood is a blessing, but sometimes it feels like a gamble as well. No one can guarantee that your kids will love you. God knows that all too well. The same evil that drove Jesus to the cross causes heartbreak, destruction, disease, and pain. We live in such uncertainty, and yet we can know for sure that God understands. He too has felt grief and pain over our erring ways.
Ultimately, this is the story of a Redeemer who loved us so much that He refused to let us die in our sin. In the midst of our pain and desolation, joy rises, and we can celebrate once again. This is the story grace and truth that helps us move forward. There is a star. There is a heavenly hose. There is a song. There is a Son. This story has a name. We call it Christmas.
G.K. Chesterton, the “prince of paradox,” once said. “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”
I would urge each of us to take some time this Christmas, to reflect on the story of Christmas and really think about what God really did for us on that day over 2,000 years ago. Reflect on that great sacrifice He made on our behalf. By thinking about that, we should ask ourselves how that can change our hope for 2018. How can we share that reflection with our family during this joyous season?
I want to wish each and every one of you and all of your family a very Merry Christmas! It really is an amazing story when you really think about it.