Lifelines December 19, 2021

Christmas always brings us together with the ones we love.  It may only be in our hearts, but they are with us in spirit if not in person.  It is a joyful time as the world turns its attention to the birth of Jesus.  Although there is no mention of the time of year, nor is there any biblical suggestion that it should be commemorated; it is celebrated around the globe. 

God became flesh.  He entered into the human experience in obscurity.  A few shepherds received an unforgettable birth announcement, but the happy human mom and dad were in a quiet village among the animals.  It is hard to imagine the Lord of the universe having such a humble beginning, but it fits.  He came to serve.  Could anyone in Bethlehem imagine what happened that night? Can we?

Inspired writers put it into understandable language, but it is such an incomprehensible fact.  The infinite God subjected Himself to a flesh-and-blood experience.  He knows first-hand the limitations of that kind of life.  Temptation is not a foreign concept to Him.  Neither are hunger, thirst, pain, sorrow nor death.  He lived.  He died.  All for you and me.

He embodied a love that we struggle to understand.  His own people rejected Him.  Commoners and kings did, too.  The religious elite were furious with Him.  Secular forces rose up against Him.  It seems those on the fringes of society were most attracted to Him.  The ragged and rugged.  The downcast and the worn out.  Those who didn’t fit in found a listening ear and compassionate touch. 

Thirty-three short years after the manger came the cross.  Most of the time in between was spent out of the spotlight, but the three years in the public eye were certainly a revelation.  He confronted the hypocrites and embraced the untouchables.  He stepped not only into creation but across the tracks.  He was nothing expected and everything hoped for.  He was a Savior for all.

His closing hours were spent among His apostles.  One was in the process of betraying Him for a handful of silver just after the Lord had washed his feet.  Meanwhile, Jesus busied Himself encouraging and preparing the rest.  Difficult times lay ahead.  The coming hours would be confusing and discouraging.  Heartbreaking, no doubt.  They were about to witness the full brunt of sin falling on His shoulders.  It would be ugly, very brutal.  He did not want them blindsided by the brutality of it all. 

Then He prayed.  His earthly task drew to an earth-shaking climax, and He talked with His Father.  The forces closed in, took Him prisoner and crucified Him.  It all seems so far removed from the innocent baby born just over three decades before.  God’s love, His Son’s death and our salvation.  His grace truly is amazing.  Now, we are brought together with the one who loves us most of all.