But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. -Luke 2:10-11
No matter how many times we’ve heard the Christmas story before, it’s good to remind ourselves that it never gets old. After all, the birth of Christ was proclaimed by an angel in Luke 2 as being (1) good news and a cause for (2) great joy. This is something that we should embrace despite the fact that Jesus was born more than 2,000 years ago. Yes, His birth is still good news and it still is cause for great joy in this day and age!
One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel– God with us. For Jesus to leave Heaven– with all the glory, honor, riches, and brilliance of that beautiful place– to come as a humble and frail human being is one that baffles the mind. Logic says, “That did not need to happen, especially if He is God!” But then, God does not play by the rules of logic. He plays by laws written in Love, laws harder and more accurate than science; laws that confound the confines of time and space. These are laws stating that the atonement of mankind can only come through the shedding of blood (Lev. 17:11); laws given description that the Lamb of God was slaughtered before the foundations of the world (Rev.13:8).
The Worth of Man
God sees mankind as valuable. He created us, frail creatures from the dust and yet unbelievably, deemed worth loving and worth giving His image to. In fact, He did not call us mere creatures. With full intentionality, God set us apart— living beings having mind and soul. Just like a Father who sees Himself in His children, He created Adam and Eve with the express desire that they have His image (Gen.1:27).
But alas, both Adam and Eve sinned. Thrust out of the Garden of Eden, they were expelled not just from a place of immense beauty, but from an open, thriving communion with God. It was the kind of communion where hearing His voice had been so clear; where the hearing of His footsteps in the cool of the Garden was possible.
In fact, we can almost hear Adam’s cry, “Who now shall walk with us?”
For Adam and Eve, the reality of “God with us” was suddenly broken from their routine and “space” of living.
Where Is God?
Where did God go after Adam sinned? He certainly was still present because our God is an omnipresent God. However, the sin of Adam became like an impenetrable veil separating the Almighty’s holiness and sinful humanity—a necessary gap between Heaven’s purity and the depravity/wickedness of mankind.
Now, for man to see God in His full glory, he would die. Not even Moses, one of God’s dear friends, could see His face and live (Exo.33:20).
Still, we find our God making a way for us. In the Law of Moses, we read that atonement of sin could be made, but it had to involve a sacrifice– the shedding of blood (Lev.17:11). This was necessary, becoming a precursor (actually, more like a clue!) for the salvation of mankind: the death of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus.
When all the conditions of prophecy were ripe, the Father sent His Son to tear the veil that separated us from Him. Jesus sheathed Himself with the dust of humanity and became one of us. He walked in the way of Love, fulfilling every condition necessary by the Mosaic Law so that man could be set free.
God could walk once more with man on earth–in the same way the Father walked the Garden with Adam, now the Son could walk with man. Mortal flesh dulled the piercing glory of Heaven, so that mankind could behold the image of the Father among them. How? Jesus words were clear: “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father… (John 14:9).”
Yet flesh could not hold Him. When He fulfilled the conditions of the sacrifice and rose from the dead, the third party of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, came to dwell in the hearts of men, making it possible for mankind to have constant, open communion with the Father.
Reflection for Christmas
And so we must ask ourselves: In this holiday season, do we remember Jesus? December 25 may not be the exact date when our Savior was born, but all around the world, the majority of people take the time to celebrate the time when God gave us a glimpse of how He wanted the world to be—a world with Immanuel, God with us. Granted, not everyone knows the full meaning of Christmas (some still think it’s a myth where Santa Claus ho-ho-ho’s into the picture riding a sleigh bearing gifts), but for us who know Jesus, we should thoroughly cherish the birth of our Savior: the reality of good news and our reason for the greatest of joys!
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.