In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men
Jesus was there as the earth was formed. As stars were placed in the sky He was there. As animals of every variety were thought up Jesus was there. He was involved in our story from Day One. From before we were involved in the story He was there. Before Adam and Eve first took breath Jesus was there. And life itself was in Him.
Christmas is not the arrival of Jesus into the story. The Bethlehem stable was not His first appearance into God’s master plan. Jesus was there from before the beginning. He loved us from the start. Jesus was never plan B for a fallen world that had rebelled against God – He was always plan A.
God made man and woman in His image, unique in all creation. We are not just flesh and bones – we are soul and conscious and spirit. God made and it was good. But the story didn’t end there.
Alas there was another present. A rebel. The devil. From before creation Satan, the dragon, had been in rebellion against God, and had been cast out of heaven. He deceived Adam and Eve. In the form of a serpent he used trickery to get them to question what God has said. And in a fateful moment that changed everything they ate the forbidden fruit. The curse of sin and death enters creation and all that was good becomes corrupted.
But God doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t stop loving us. He gives a promise of hope to all who are caught up in the curse of sin. There is a serpent crusher coming. One who will break the power of sin and death, once and for all. That serpent crusher is Jesus, God’s plan A. Before He made the world God knew Adam and Eve would give in to temptation. He knew we too would sin and fall short of His glory. He knew our hearts would be prone to wander and prone to leave the God we profess to love. He knew a sacrifice would be needed to atone for the sin’s debt and restore us to relationship with Him. God knew and He had plan A in place from the start. Jesus would take the punishment we deserved and would be our serpent crusher.
From that moment in the garden with the bite of fruit and the rebellion of mankind God’s people had been waiting. Waiting for the curse of sin to be broken. Waiting for the serpent to be crushed. They were waiting. For thousands of years God’s people waited. They waited for the Saviour who would restore their relationship with God. They waited for the everlasting King who would overthrow the empires of the world that oppressed them and establish an unending Kingdom. They waited, longingly, expectantly, desperately. They waited.
We live in a dark dark world. A world of fear, a world of full of threats. A world full of hurt and pain and famine and loss.
Yet the message of Christmas is we can have hope in the darkness. For Jesus is the light of the world. He shines bright into the dark, lighting it up. He is hope for all in the dark, for He is the light that will guide us to safety. The light that will lead us to rest in His loving embrace.
Jesus didn’t have to come.
He didn’t have to leave the throne of heaven.
He didn’t have to give up His position.
He didn’t have to abandon His glory.
He didn’t have to surrender His rights.
He didn’t have to humble himself.
He didn’t have to become the slave.
He didn’t have to die.
It was not necessary for Him. It was not for personal benefit that He came to us. Had Jesus not come to earth to live and die among us God would still be in heaven. Jesus would still be in heaven. The Holy Spirit would still be in heaven. The angels in heaven would still be worshipping at the throne of God.
The reason Jesus came? The reason He left the throne, gave up His position, abandoned His glory, surrendered His rights, humbled Himself as a slave and died for us? Because God desires us. He doesn’t need us. But He wants us. He wants you! He wants us in heaven. He wants us restored to relationship with Him. He wants the curse broken and the wages of sin paid so that we can be with Him forever. So Jesus came. Not because He had to, but because He wanted to. Out of love he came down to earth to reach out to us, heaven touching earth, reaching out to us, making a way back to the Father. Making a way where all our own efforts to impress God fall short. Making a way for us to know forgiveness. Making a way for us to come before the throne of God and face mercy and grace rather than judgement and condemnation.
We tend to think of the birth of Jesus as this peaceful event, as shown on Christmas cards and sung about in carols with lyrics such as “Silent night, holy night, all is calm”. But there is another account of the birth of Jesus that gets overlooked in which we see that that was not the case. Mathew, Luke and John are not the only books with the birth of Jesus. It is also in Revelation 12. And we see there that all was not calm. In the heavenly realms all hell was breaking loose. Jesus coming down to earth was an invasion behind the lines of Enemy territory. Philip Yancey calls it “a daring raid by the ruler of the forces of good into the universe’s seat of evil.” And the dragon Satan wasn’t going down without a fight. But here is the awesome thing – the angels fought back, and completely kicked his devil dragon butt. At Christmas we are reminded of the good news that though we are in a spiritual battle right now, with Satan trying to bring us down we are not alone. God himself became man and moved into our neighbourhood, entering the scene to defeat the power of death, to offer hope to all mankind. And right now the angelic host of heaven is not just singing “Hark” but is fighting dragons for us. There is a war going on, centred on the Nativity scene, but we are not fighting alone!
The sound of heaven touching earth was the sound of the serpent’s head being crushed in defeat as the Light of the World rose victorious. The sound of heaven touching earth was the sound of a mother in labour. Jesus, the Son of God born in a lowly stable. The sound of heaven touching earth is the sound of hope for the broken, the hurting, the wounded, the forgotten, the unloved – hope for all who see the Light of the World and put their trust in Him. Jesus is the proof that God keeps His promises. The proof that though the wait may be long, He is faithful. The proof that God doesn’t give up on or abandon His people. There is room for all in the family tree of God. For the broken, the hurting, the sinner, the prostitute, the unclean, the idolater, the adulater, the downcast, the rejected. Room for you and room for me. As heaven touches earth the message rings out – you are invited to join the family. Come as you are!