Each month we celebrate birthdays for our family and loved ones. We all gather around and give gifts to that person and sing “Happy Birthday”…we celebrate, laugh and play games. Sometimes we even reminice about former years. But the day is all about celebration. It says, “We are glad that you were born!” I, for one, am happy at this time of year. It reminds me of an event that forever changed the way I think about the world and it’s future.
In the Gospel of Luke Mary is confronted by an angelic being named Gabriel. He tells her what is about to happen to her. You are going to have a son. And you will call his name…Jesus. Jesus is the greek form of the name Joshua…and it means “the Lord saves!“. In Matthew he is called Immanuel…which means “God with us“. Both are descriptive terms for what God was about to do for the human race.
Since the outbreak of sin through Adam (which destroyed the relationship with God) we have been on a downward spin toward an eternity that we were never suppose to experience. All our efforts to BE something of eternal value seem to fall far short of what God intended for us. But God….had a plan in mind that would bring stability to our lives as well as eternal value. His plan was to send Immanuel…to come to us in human form. To save us from the tail spin that we could not pull out of on our own.
It is by that name that we enjoy a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. No wonder the angel said, “Don’t be afraid…I bring good news!” No wonder the shepherds came with joy to the manger. She was about to give birth to God’s message and plan for human kind. Jesus, “the Lord saves”, was entering the world to bring reconciliation…a new relationship to replace the broken one.
It is this time of year that Christians around the world become happy…gives gifts…enjoy family…but it is truly about celebration. We are glad that Jesus was born. We celebrate his first coming as a human child. And our future hope is in HIS teaching of a second coming. Take time during your Christmas holiday to celebrate the truly amazing birth that changed the course of history. Merry Christmas.