It is easy for believers to become disheartened by the events unfolding in our world. The stories we read in the news and the trends of popular culture continually reveal the brokenness of humanity. Lately, I have felt weighed down and discouraged by what I have seen transpiring in the world; it seems as though each time we turn on the television or check the news online, we are bombarded with the sense that something is very wrong. An economic downturn, an environment in danger, shootings in schools and churches, protests in the streets, and threats to religious freedom. How do we remain joyful in spite of all the darkness we are surrounded by?
Jesus was born into a world very much like our own. The Roman Empire held much of the world, including the people of Israel, in its powerful grip. Living under the rule of a pagan empire, the Jews were oppressed and longed for the promised Messiah. The Gospel of Matthew recounts the words of Isaiah, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means ‘God with us.’” These words foretold the coming incarnation; the act of the Creator coming to live and die, among the created.
The reality of the incarnation should not simply be commemorated each year like some other historical event that slowly fades into obscurity over time. The incarnation is continuously significant for all Christ-followers, at all times. It is precisely what sets Christianity apart from other worldviews; that God voluntarily lowered Himself in order to graciously initiate a relationship with broken humanity. The incarnation is the source of joy for believers in a dark world; it is a reminder that God has not left us alone. This Christmas season, will you find your joy in the child that was born for you? There are many opportunities this Christmas to adore Him and to celebrate together as a Church family. I hope you will join us for The Joy of Christmas on December 17th, and again on Christmas Eve.