“Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).
“Whatever else is or is not true, this one thing is certain—man is not what he was meant to be.” G. K. Chesterton
We were made for glory, but our glory faded a long time ago. First we disobeyed, then we died on the inside, then we started dying on the outside, then we turned to our own devices, then we said, “God, we don’t need you at all. Leave us alone!” And we wonder why the world is the way it is. Look in the mirror. “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
And God said, “I will not leave you alone. I will not let you destroy yourself, each other, and the world I have made. I love you too much to leave you alone.” So he sent prophets. We killed them. He wrote letters. We ignored them. He told us how to live, and we said, “Who are you to tell us what to do?” We mocked the God who made us, we broke his laws, we said we didn’t need him, and we made up our own gods that we liked much better because they looked so much like us.
So God came to visit us.
He came as a baby, and when he grew up, we killed him. Murdered him. Hung him on a cross. That’s the thanks we gave to God for visiting us. But we were wrong about everything. After we killed him, he came back from the dead—proving that he was right all along and we were really wrong—dead wrong about everything—and still God loved us and came from heaven to earth on the greatest rescue mission in history.
He came because we blew it so badly.
He came and we killed him.
He died and became our Savior.
No one but God could have done something like that. What a story! What a Christ! C.S. Lewis said, “The son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.” God has done it all. That’s the good news of Christmas: God has done it all. The only thing left to you and me is to believe. God wrapped up his Son in swaddling clothes and said to the whole world, “This is my Christmas gift to you.”
The glory of God shines forth from that manger in Bethlehem.
His glory still shines today.
One day his glory will fill the earth.
Christmas matters because truth matters. And the heart of the truth is that God did not leave us alone, but in our misery he came to visit us one dark night in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.
O Holy Child, be born in us today so that your light might shine in us and fill this dark world with your glory. Amen.