This is the season when we think about the infant Jesus, our God in human form who came to us as a helpless baby, lying in a manger, surrounded by His poor parents, poor shepherds and sacrificial animals. We celebrate with festive gifts and songs, banquets and parades, ugly sweaters and too-sweet eggnog in an effort to remind ourselves we are not alone on this planet. Someone is watching us, aware of our presence, and it is both comforting and intimidating at the same time.
It is an amazing concept that God became a baby – a concept that we don’t give much thought to because we’re usually too busy decorating the house, buying presents and deciding which party to go to and which party we can skip without saying anything. And the worse part? Christmas has become the season when many people all over the world will spend money they haven’t yet earned on things they don’t need in order to impress people they don’t like in celebration of the birth of a Savior they don’t believe in. Even many Christians find themselves just wanting to get through this busy season, because in our rush to celebrate we somehow forget the origin of the word “holiday” is “holy days,” for they seem anything but holy.
Still, we choose to gather together to sing songs, worship our God, be amazed at His gift of salvation and listen to something inspirational from the pastor that will help us face, if not the rest of our lives, at least the next week. It is Christmas time and we are supposed to be celebrating, festive, and joyful, but for many people the pain of life is a constant reminder that things aren’t what they seem. Now Christmas is here and Jesus, our God in human form, still unable to control His bladder, is supposed to keep my life from falling apart.
And that is what we are going to talk about: God is here. And He is not silent. And He we are not alone. The world is throwing a party and people are moving fast and sometimes we wonder if we’ve been forgotten. We have not. God is here.
In Matthew chapter 9, Mark chapter 5 and Luke chapter 8 we see three stories, always in the same order: A demoniac in a cemetery, a diseased woman with a flow of blood and a dying girl who all needed the presence of Jesus. In a religious sense, these three meant Jesus would be ritually unclean by touching or being touched by them. But Jesus’ isn’t defiled by their presence. The demoniac no longer had demons, the woman no longer bled and the dead girl was now alive. What we learn is this: Our conditions do not change Jesus. Jesus changes our conditions. Perhaps we are responsible for the demons in our life. We invited them in and let them rule and now we can’t help ourselves. Or perhaps the disease of a sinful world separated from God has visited our own life and for twelve years we’ve been separated from God and our family. Then again, maybe nothing and no one is to blame and death has visited our door. Jesus shows Himself capable of overcoming demons, disease and death, and in the resurrection we see the ultimate reason Isaiah 9:6 said “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.” Why? Because “The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Our Prince of Peace is here to offer us the peace only God can bring.
Our Savior came to earth to reclaim His creation from the clutches of demons, disease and death, yet He never forgot the needs of individuals. The scope of His mission is universal, yet in God’s kingdom, there is no man, woman or child that is insignificant. Jesus is fully attentive to every individual and every situation.
Some people must come to Jesus for healing and salvation, as the woman did. Sometimes Jesus comes to us, as He did for the demoniac and the little girl. But regardless of how it happens, God is here. He has always been here. He was here since the beginning, but chose to revealing Himself by coming as a baby and showing us all how to grow in God. And that, of course, is the best Christmas present ever.