Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Not about the Baby

There's something about that image: Shepherds standing in adoration, angels singing praise, a father embracing his bride, and that bride pondering the wonderful, peaceful moment.  And then there's the center of the whole scene - the entire focus of the night: the baby.  The child, Jesus, lying gently in a manger.  Everyone loves the thought of it.

But why?  In a society that has so forsaken God, why do people accept - and even embrace - the mention of the Son of God coming to earth?  Why does our anti-Jesus culture suddenly love Jesus?

The answer is simple: they don't.

Sure, they love the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, but they don't really love the Messiah.  To the world, the Christmas baby is a symbol of peace, of love, of hope, and of joy.  But he's just that: a symbol.  The fact is, just like the "loving Jesus" society embraces, this baby Jesus has been stripped of nearly every truly divine quality and left as a mere "feel-good" idea.

He's lost his power.  His judgment.  His terrifying holiness.  His unrelenting wrath against all sin.  And because of all this, he's lost his gospel.  The Almighty King has been replaced by just... a baby.

Perhaps you think I'm taking all of the joy out of Christmas.  However, there can never really be joy without Christ; and we've done exactly that: we've managed to take Christ out of Christmas without even removing Him.  The Church is tricked into thinking that the world is worshiping God when it's really worshiping a baby.

But the baby in the manger is also the One we worship.  He's not the same baby, though.  This baby is God Himself, Who chose to become the lowliest.  He came as a weak infant, but He was - and is - so much more.  He's still God.

He's the Maker of the universe.  He's the eternal Judge.  He's the Commander of all the heavenly armies.  He is Jesus Christ, and no one will ever be able to diminish a single thing about Him.

So when we celebrate Christmas, we worship the Lamb who was slain to pay our debt forever.  And that is the true joy of Christmas.