When God Breaks In
Do you believe in Christmas?
That’s the question at the core of almost every Christmas movie. I should know because I think I’ve seen just about all of them. There is a reason some of the classic movies of all time are movies that capture the spirit of this December holiday.
But underneath the happiness conjured up by the Christmas Spirit, you hear another, more subtle cry. Christmas can be incredibly depressing, lonely, and sad.
Christmas can be the yearly cold reminder of the favorite loved one who passed, of the boyfriend or girlfriend who got away, of the strife that fractures many families.
Listen to the music of the season. You’ll hear either a lot of happy joyous tunes or ones reflecting the morose reality of our world. It’s as if people want to be happy. We really want to “believe” in Christmas or the idea of Christmas we’ve constructed, but look around and notice the deplorable state of the world. The state of our own world.
So is this Christmas Joy make-believe? It’s a happy, Disney-land, cotton-candy euphoria that promises peace and happiness but ultimately comes up short?
It’s interesting, because at the very first Christmas (yes I know Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but please indulge me for a moment), the mood around Israel was similar. God had not spoken to his people, Israel, for over 400 years. They had suffered brutal oppression and were now living under the thumb of Rome. The world wasn’t getting any better and there were little signs of hope.
Like us today, they clung to an ancient promise of hope breaking in to their world. The prophets predicted a Messiah, a Savior would come and rescue the world from the curse of sin. But that was centuries ago and for four hundred years, God had been silent. Didn’t say a word to them. No prophets. No kings. No judges. No angels.
Then, on an ordinary night, a rather dreary Bethelehem night, God broke into this world. And He spoke in the most miraculous, mysterious way possible. He entered this world in the form of a baby. The Holy Spirit conceived a baby in a young, poor, virgin girl. The announcement was delivered in a rather peculiar way, to shepherds. The hillsides and the sky were filled with the royal choir of Heaven, angels announcing glorious entrance of God into the world.
That entrance of Jesus into the world is the only source for joy at Christmas. It’s joy because God, the Creator, entered time and space, became a baby. The God-man, in the flesh. And He didn’t come to be merely an enlightened teacher or a healer. He was more than a rabbi or sage. He wasn’t simply a warm and fuzzy guru.
Jesus is both God and man. He is the fulfillment of God’s long-ago promise to rescue his fallen creation.
Maybe this year you’re trying hard to work up a Christmas spirit of joy, but are finding it empty. After the lights come down, the presents are opened, the egg nog indulged, you might be back to the dreary life you had before. Deep down you long for something more.
The goodness is that there is something more. It’s not in some schmaltzy, vague notions of warmth and togetherness in December. The more can be found in the Person of Jesus Christ.
In the midst of silence and despair, God breaks into the world. Your world. He came, as the angels sang, “Born for you.” Be found by this Jesus and you will discover, for real, Christmas joy.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.