“The love we celebrate at Christmas is intimately connected to an unshakable commitment to the good of others.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 25, 2021
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6, ESV
For nearly two years, our world has come to be familiar in previously unimaginable ways with a single phrase: “social distancing.” In more ways than we can possibly count, we have learned to separate and distance ourselves from one another. While this has been in the name of health and safety, it has also brought with it many unintended consequences. While some may avoid the sickness out there, increased time alone highlights the disfunction and chaos in here. Whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, our world suffers under the weight of sin and death, and eventually, in one way or another, each one of us will feel the impact of this painful truth upon our lives.
Christmas reminds us that God enters into the chaos of our world. He is neither indifferent nor distant, but with full knowledge of the severity of the situation, he still chooses to come near to us and bring his healing to our greatest point of need. There is nothing “safe” about the birth of Christ. Creation itself is a risk, a venture of love in which God creates a world that is able to receive or reject his offer of intimate relationship. The safest move on God’s part would surely have been to keep his distance, allowing us to continue headlong in our rebellion and ignorance.
In light of this, it is good to remember that the love we celebrate at Christmas is intimately connected to an unshakable commitment to the good of others. This is not safe, as it requires close proximity with those who are most in need. Why has our world celebrated the medical professionals and frontline workers combatting this global pandemic? Because they sacrifice their own safety and bring healing by drawing near. They administer medicine at the bedside of a dying person, not from a distance, but close enough to actually bring hope to a dying person.
Christmas is the ultimate reminder of this great truth. In Christ, God brings hope to a dying world by entering into our sickness, taking it upon himself, and destroying its power over us, once and for all. And so, in a world that is constantly tempted towards fear and anxiety, let us today remember that we are people of peace, regardless of what may come our way. Why? “For to us a child is born” (Isaiah 9:6).
Father, thank you for the love shown in Christmas, reminding us that you draw near to us even in our sin and sickness, bringing healing to the world, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Take time to reflect upon the depth of our need for redemption and rescue, and the majesty and wonder of God’s love shown in Christ.
Stephen Cleobury (Handel): For Unto Us a Child Is Born
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