The Nativity- A Reflection of the Gospel
Hello and welcome back to the blog my dearest friend!
(** I wrote this post on Christmas Day but never published it because I was taking my break. So now we are here! Enjoy! **)
Today is just a short and quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! This year has brought in an enormous amount of change in my life, of course with the blog, but also with my heart.
I feel my perspective and priorities shifting drastically; my heart, which was once burdened so heavily with the grief of my past and fear of the future seems to have undergone a complete transformation from the Lord. My mind feels sharper, and my soul feels lighter; God has truly done a good work in my soul, and I cannot even begin to express the hunger I have to dig into the word of God, theology, doctrine, and everything focused on Jesus.
With Christmas having just passed, it feels very fitting that my heart and mind are so inclined towards the Gospel, as the Gospel is truly what Christmas is about...
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 KJV
That is the essence of Christmas; the Gospel.
And when we discuss the Gospel, it's not shiny ornaments, sparkly snowflakes, or magnificent choirs. The Gospel is the ultimate drama-- a clash of heaven and earth; Holiness and humanity, complete purity and complete depravity, God's glory meeting earth's obscene wickedness.
We see this reflected, if ever so lightly, in the Nativity itself.
The extreme glory of heaven appears on earth in the miraculous Virgin birth, a choir of Angels sings to Shepherds, and even amongst the celestial heavenly bodies, a star notifies the Wisemen that an incredible event has occurred. Heaven clearly leaves its mark, and we are left in awe of God's glory.
But, this glory is not the only thread in this tapestry; no. Greeting the incredible glory and beauty of God in the Nativity are threads of darkness, spiraling and winding their way into the drama.
This is of course represented in the fact that the King of Heaven and Earth is first introduced into the world in a stable, swaddled in a manger. Our Savior was laid amongst animals, greeted by a lowly collection of shepherds, and ultimately, born of a woman who was pregnant well before her wedding day. From the outside looking in, this story was ANYTHING but glorified... perhaps it would even be described as undignified.
But that is the Nativity; glory blooming out of humility, found not in the halls of Kings but in humility unto death, even death on a cross.
And as we celebrate Christmas, reflecting upon the Nativity and the clash of darkness and light, we can turn our eyes and hearts towards the Gospel, which reflects these themes as well.
The Gospel includes a FULL recognition and understanding of the true depravity of our sinful souls. The darkness of our humanity is starkly contrasted against the pure holiness and glory of our Heavenly Father. Our depravity, His holiness; brought together in the narrative of the Gospel.
We are so broken and sinful as a people, that we deserve death, hell, and total separation from God. But God, in His incredible love and grace, had mercy on us, and sent His son, who was fully God and fully man, to live the perfect life, and then die a sinner's death on the cross, that He might pay the price for OUR sins. And if we repent of our sin and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, we can be reunited with God through His forgiveness and grace, as He accepts Christ in place of our punishment.
This is the Gospel.
This Gospel truth is fully aware of the reality of our humanity; that we are broken, sinful, selfish, and unworthy of God. It recognizes our lowliness as much as it recognizes God's holiness. But the recognition of our pitiful selfishness, though it is sad and disturbing, is also a very beautiful thing. Because it is only through this recognition and repentance that we can truly be washed whiter than snow through the grace of God.
And that is the heart of all of this; repentance. It is the intense and passionate response we are to have in the face of such grace! It is more than asking Jesus go come into our hearts; it's actively choosing to live differently than our sinful hearts desire. It's about struggling against our nature, walking in step with the Spirit, and moving towards sanctification.
This full truth, with repentance, salvation, and sanctification, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is all mirrored in the Nativity.
The nativity, with its dirty manger for the cradle of a King, and the miraculous virgin birth, draws together the dichotomy of Holy and lowly. With miracles, glory, and the wonders of Heaven clashing towards the lowly darkness of humanity, the Nativity reflects the Gospel. Heaven meeting earth, glory meeting darkness, and forgiveness meeting sin.
Christmas, the Nativity, and this celebration we observe knits together these opposites. It joins together the darkness AND the light, the lowly and the Holy, the brokenness and the perfect; it contrasts all of it together.
The Gospel weaves together our lowly hearts with God's heavenly purity, just as the Nativity weaves together the lowly manger with the Heavenly hosts.
And this is why we celebrate; because Christmas is a time to remember the incredible plan of God, reflected in the Nativity AND the Gospel. Jesus' birth is the moment when God stepped amongst us, showing us how to live, and ultimately dying for our sins as the perfect sacrifice in our place; the Lamb of God. His death brought an END to death; through His death, we are set free, and by His stripes, we are spiritually healed and forgiven.
And this is why Christmas is MORE than all the fluff and glitz.
It's MORE than an adorable baby Jesus and some sweet animals.
It's MORE than pretty angels and sparkly wisemen.
And it's more than presents, and it's more than Christmas carols.
Christmas is the moment when God's plan to save humanity was set into action; Jesus was born, the Savior of the world walked amongst us, and God made a way for us to be saved from our sins, forgiven forever, and accepted into Eternal life with the triune God.
So it is today, on this beautiful Christmas day, that I cry out to the Lord, giving thanks for sending His son to live and die for me, a perfect sacrifice in my place.