Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can It Be Christmas?

Christmas carols, twinkling lights, television specials, advertising that promises magical joys.  Crowded stores, Christmas tree lots, baking, and planning surprises.  All these things and more abound.  Can it really be Christmas?  It doesn't feel like it.  None of the usual delight and excitement is anywhere on the horizon at our home.  Life and death came in the same lovely bundle for us.  A precious baby suffered and died.  Can it possibly be Christmas?

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her king."

Life and death also arrived in a lovely bundle 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.  Jesus was born to suffer and die.  He would be pierced for our sins. The old prophet Simeon told Mary that her soul would be pierced by a sword.  Love has it's cost.

"Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!  Let men their songs employ."

Christianity is the Great Paradox.  Christ came to die and rise again in order that we might live eternally.  Death for life.  Suffering for healing.  Because He triumphed over death, we can say, "O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  (I.Cor.15:55)

"No more let sins or sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground.  He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found."

"And He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'  Also He said, 'Write this down, for these sayings are trustworthy and true." (Rev.21:5)  We can look with confidence for the day when there will be no more sorrows nor thorns of life, for He will wipe away our tears and erase the curse.  

"He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of His love."

"The wonders of His love."  He gives comfort to the mourning, peace to the troubled, healing to the wounded.  Today He gives those things to His children, and not at some later pie-in-the-sky day.  Today the Gospel is true.  

Yes, it can be Christmas, because the Gospel is true.

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