Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 19, 2015

Advent 2015 :: Jesus as our Savior

The story of the Nativity does not find its end at birth.  As every birth before it, and every one since, it is the miraculous beginning to an even grander story.  We must not miss the immeasurable treasure of God’s scandalous choice to become one of us.  The event of Jesus’ birth and narrative which precedes and shortly follows it are worth celebrating!  But it is only when we connect His choice with its ultimate purpose, that the true weight of the treasure can be measured.

The Christmas story should never be confined to Bethlehem.  The people, places and events interwoven with the miracle of His birth should only be the prologue or first chapter in our telling.  Would it be sufficient only to tell the story of the days and weeks surrounding your own birth?  Certainly not.  It is what God does in and through us during the full measure of our lives which defines the treasure we are to Him and to those we were born to love and serve.  It is even more so with the birth of Jesus.

In eternity past, before God’s first breath of creation, He authored a plan.  In a way that I can’t even begin to comprehend, God knew we would reject Him even before He created us.  He loved us so much, even then, that instead of deciding against creating us, He chose to sacrifice everything in order to redeem us.   There was one thing He couldn’t bear the thought of more than separation from His Son (who was everything to Him) … eternal separation from you and me.

So God decided that Jesus would become one us for the sole purpose of saving us.  He sent that message with the angel Gabriel to speak into a dark and lonely night in the heart of a simple carpenter in Nazareth.

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20b-21 (ESV)

The angel (in my words of paraphrase) speaks to Joseph …  “Fear not, Joseph.  The young woman you just married, who is now pregnant by a way which deeply troubles you, and has caused you to despair in the assumption that she has been unfaithful to you, has actually been touched by the Holy Spirit itself and is bearing a human child who is also the Son of the living God.”  And it is not enough that God speaks this message through Gabriel to announce that God himself is coming to earth to live among us, for that message would be wholly incomplete.  God calms and reassures, but he also declares; He declares His divine intention and purpose in sending Jesus to be born as a fully human baby boy.  This boy is coming to be the Savior of the world.

The story of Christmas is not fully understood unless it is told from cradle to grave (and beyond).  There is an improper finality suggested if we tell, sing and celebrate Jesus’ birth as a singular event.  Standing alone, it would be a story of immeasurable warmth and glad tidings … God has become one of us!  But told absent the cross, tomb and resurrection, it is completely devoid of hope.  The miracle of Jesus’ birth must be celebrated alongside the deep sorrow in His suffering and death.  The shouts of joy and praise over His coming must find chorus with those over His resurrection from the dead!  Jesus is our Savior!  Oh come let us adore Him, for unto us a Child is born!

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