Newsletter December 2018
What child is this?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. … He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5; 10; 14)
As we enter another Christmas season, we focus on the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are well acquainted with the scene of the Nativity: baby Jesus lying in the manger, Mary, His mother, and Joseph standing next to Him, and shepherds bowing down in adoration. Yet there were many people in Bethlehem that night, who do not feature in this scene: people who were in the vicinity, maybe had even seen this newborn child, yet did not recognise Him and therefore missed that miraculous moment, when the Eternal God stepped into time, when the heavenly Creator took on human flesh.
Some had come from far to Bethlehem, like Mary and Joseph, to be counted. There were Roman officials around, who may have registered the couple upon their arrival, ticking off their names on seemingly unending census lists. Inn keepers had sent them away, until finally one of them - be it out of compassion or simply to make an extra shekel from their misery - had offered the couple a place with his livestock. Then there were neighbours, passers-by, people who were simply getting on with their lives in the midst of all the commotion. None of these people are found in the Nativity scene, because none of them recognised who He was.
Instead we see a group of shepherds come to see baby Jesus. They had been watching their flocks at night, just as they did every night. Nothing had suggested that this night would be different until suddenly angels appeared to them, telling them to leave their flocks and go to Bethlehem, where they would find the Saviour lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-12). They believed the message of the angels and hurried to Bethlehem where they were able to behold the glory of the Son of God (John 1:14).
Do you recognise who He is? When you look at the baby in the manger, do you see the image of the invisible God? (Colossians 1:15) When you read of His miracles, do you see the Almighty Creator? When you think of the cross, do see the Holy One who took your guilt upon Himself? When you consider the empty tomb, do you see the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25) who conquered death for you? As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, let us pray that God would give us a deeper revelation of His Son, so that we can see Him for who He really is.
And what about those around you? Your family and friends, your neighbours and colleagues? What about all those you meet in the shops, when you buy your Christmas gifts, or at the post office when you post your Christmas parcels and cards? Do they know who He is? Let us pray this Christmas that God would reveal His Son to them as well. Let us ask Him to give us opportunities to point them to Jesus. How will they know if no one tells them? How will they perceive if no one shows them? (Romans 10:14) Will you be that signpost?