It’s that time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
It is soon Christmas. We’ve all been getting ready. Shopping. Decorating. Meals with Friends and Families. Expecting.
And what is all this expecting about? Why do we expect at Christmas?
Because Christmas is the story of the one great expectation, the expectation of a baby born over 2000 years ago.
This story of Christ at Christmas is a simple one.
It goes like this.
Long ago the world was created out of the loving heart and hand of God the Father. A God who wanted relationship, friendship, partnership with others who could love back, who could understand back, who could relate right back at him. That’s when we came on the scene, made to be friends with God.
But stuff got in the way. Lies. Pride. Selfishness. Fear. Blaming… you know, the kind of stuff that can get between any relationship and mess it up big time.
The thing is, that God is so loving, honoring and good, that anything that smacks of non-love, non-honoring, and non-good offends him very deeply.
Offends in the same way as someone coming into your home and robbing from you, a co-worker spreading false and nasty rumors about you at work, a friend gossiping about you on facebook, or extended family that shares a meal only to be belligerent and rude.
We all have things that are offensive to us. Each one of us have limits on what we will put up with and the kinds of people we will do life with. We each have particular priorities and values that must be respected in order for relationship to happen. And so does God.
Now the ‘stuff’ that came between God and the first human beings is the same kind of stuff that comes between us and God today. You see, we carry the blood of the generations before us… right back to the beginning of time, we carry offense-blood within us. Meaning, we can never get away from the tendency to pride and selfishness, to fear and blaming, and more. You know what I mean.
We’ve all got it.
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” Romans 7:18
Not a lot different than having Uncle’s genius for mechanical things, or Great Aunt’s artistic flair, or Great, Great-Grandma’s gifting for… we all carry the blood-genes of those gone before, the stuff we want, and quite often the stuff we don’t want as well.
Because we carry this offense-blood in us, God could not and cannot have relationship with us, nor us with Him. Because we carry offense quite naturally, and because God does not, it is plain to see the difficulty towards relationship.
Imagine the person that rubs you the wrong way the most, that is so offensive to you that you cannot eat a meal with him or her, perhaps you would never have that one in your home, perhaps you don’t even speak to that one. This is because they are offensive to you in some way… offensiveness has caused a fracture and removed any possibility of real relationship.
Well, with the offense-blood that we all have, we have broken relationship with God. In his goodness, and honor, and purity he simply cannot eat with us, walk with us, or honor us. And his heart breaks over this. He misses you and I.
So he made a plan.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11
God decided that he would send a part of himself (the son part) to earth to be born as a baby, to grow into a man, to die in order to give his life-blood in exchange for our offense-blood, (because bad blood must be gotten rid of or we die).
Years and years ago they used leaches to suck out the bad blood from people… yet people died from this medical treatment. We know today that we cannot just get rid of our bad blood without replacing it. And we also know that if our blood needs changing over that we want clean blood, good blood, not the kind that makes us even more sick.
So if we’ve all got the same offense-blood, how can we help each other, how can we get life-blood into our lives and heart and spirits? We can’t, we can’t help ourselves, and we can’t help each other. But God can. Jesus has the good blood. Kind blood. Gracious blood. Royal blood.
“And so dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of the blood of Jesus.” Hebrews 10:19
Christmas is the simple story of Jesus come to earth as a baby, making a way for us to have relationship with God once more. Since He had no offense-blood in him, he could give his life-blood in exchange for our sick blood… extending to us a chance at a blood transfusion so to speak. The great exchange. A transfusion of the highest order.
“God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.” 1 Peter 1:2
Jesus brought with him fresh blood for our old blood. And all we have to do to get this blood is say, “Sure, that would be great. My bloodline has far too much wrong with it, and though I’ve given it a good shot to make it better, I would be delighted to do this in community with God himself. Jesus, will you take my old dead-offense-blood and give me your new fresh-life-blood. Thank-You.”
And He does, just like that! And the spiritual part of who we are comes to life, we understand things we never understood before, we know deep peace that was previously elusive, we find purposes that were hidden. With fresh blood in our beings our eyes see clearer, our ears hear better, our legs walk stronger, and our hearts are lighter and freer.
“And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” Romans 5:9
And we find we can walk with God, talk with God, sup with God, and He with us.
This is the story of Christmas. It all started with a little baby boy born in Bethlehem. It is called the Good News Story. It is why we celebrate. Pretty simple to see why.
“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God.” Romans 5:11
Expectation that does not disappoint!