Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas: the Rest of the Story

In the beginning the Eternal God spoke into existence everything out of nothing. There was nothing and suddenly, at His Word, there was everything. Then God created all that lives and teems on the earth and crowned it with the pinnacle creation, humankind. When He had completed it all He deemed it "very good".

There was no evil, pain or suffering, but there was choice: the man and the woman could choose to obey and trust God or choose not to. The Deceiver exploited this, came and seduced them into disobedience, and introduced into the world evil which spread to all who have ever lived. Made in the image of God, yet with a warp in our nature that turns us away from Him.

God knew that no matter how much we might try, we could not reform ourselves, that He Himself must redeem us. So God called a man named Abram, changed his name to Abraham, and promised him that "through you all peoples of the earth will be blessed." For 2,000 years, Abraham's people, the people of Israel listened as God told them through the prophets how to know His coming: he would be one of them, born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem, that He would show the people the Kingdom of God, would heal the sick and would redeem us from our fallen nature through His death, then be raised again to life.

Then the Babe was born, shepherds rejoiced, magi brought gifts and a tyrant king raged. The Child grew to manhood, and accomplished all that was foretold for millennia: the sick were healed with a touch of His hand, the dead were raised, the principles of God's kingdom were taught and modeled before our eyes.

The Deceiver schemed against Him, seduced enemies to kill Him and thought he had spoiled God's plan of redemption. But the victory was God's when the Redeemer was raised from death to go prepare a place for all of those who would choose His Way.

The Babe in a manger is not complete without the cross. The cross is not complete without the Resurrection. The resurrection is not complete without His return to restore the earth as it was in the beginning.

Those who choose Him for their life become citizens of the New World to come and are called to live as He lived when He walked among us, to become ambassadors, representing Him and inviting all who will hear to join in His offered redemption.

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.--Colossians 1:13-14

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