How will you respond to Christ? – An Advent Reading

AdventJohn 1:1-5, 10-14, In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

Over the last four weeks of Advent we’ve experienced the Christmas story through the perspective of Prophets, Angels, Shepherds, and Wise-men. Here we are tonight, at the threshold of Christmas. The moment of focusing on Jesus Christ himself! The Hero of the story. The Savior.

Perhaps this season doesn’t feel like much of a celebration to you. Maybe, right now, life is just hard. Maybe even hopeless. Then this message, that a Savior has come, is especially important for you.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Galatians 4:4-5

If there was no pain, no brokenness, no bondage, the need for Jesus to put on human skin and walk in truth and grace among us wouldn’t exist. If the world were safe, there would be no need for a Savior. Jesus was born into this dark world to join us in our pain, to be the Savior of all broken things.

We can respond to Jesus’ coming by minimizing the need, downplaying his saving power, turning him into an inspirational leader alongside a plethora of other spiritual gurus. Or we can be overprotective of Jesus, grabbing hold of spiritual dogma and shoving unworthy worshipers away, nailing the lid shut on the manger to keep him in, and a messy world out. Both of those responses stem from pride, a foolish belief that we know best.

The response God leans in close to see suits a soiled prostitute or a glittering music star, an orphan or a college professor, a prisoner or a king all just as well. Humility. How can we celebrate Jesus’ coming without first recognizing we needed him to come. And if we recognize our need how could we keep anyone from coming to the manger to meet mercy face to face.

Tonight, with celebration, with hope, with gratitude, we remember the Savior has come.

Is Christ your Savior?

The world is waiting to hear our story. Who do you know that needs the good news of God wrapped in skin, moving into the neighborhood to live with you and me? Where can you shine the light of the good news that the Savior has come?

Let’s pray:
Father, thank you for your sacrifice to send your Son to lead us home. Give us humble hearts that recognize our own need for salvation and never despise the need of another. Make us as extravagant in our love as you yourself are. Amen.

 

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