When Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph, in a birthing cave outside Bethlehem, the world hardly noticed. Only a few shepherds gathered around to celebrate the greatest birth our world would ever know. It must have occurred to them that this certainly was a strange way for God to come into his world, for the Promised Messiah to come and save the world.
And as Jesus grew, and went about proclaiming the Kingdom of God in power and glory, few understood that this was the Savior, God the Son, come down from heaven with the good news of rescue and redemption and eternal life.
Eventually, as we know, the world turned against him, branded him as a criminal, and brought his life to an end on the hill of crucifixion. But, as we also know, that was not the end of his career, and actually it was just the beginning of his eternal reign as King and Lord of All.
It was his resurrection that proved him to be all God had said he was: Messiah, Lord, Savior, King. It was also the resurrection that astounded his disciples, allowing them see his deity in a way never before understood. And it changed their lives forever!
The last surviving disciple was John, and late in his life he set about to record his experiences with Jesus Christ in written form. We know his record as the Gospel of John.
Perhaps he found it difficult to adequately describe Jesus, the baby whose birth we celebrate today. I know I would have! Just how do you tell the story of God’s entrance into this world? How do you explain that God became man, without in any way diminishing his deity? And how do you define the character of this God-man?
John came to do all this in a simple yet profound way. He put it this way: “And the Word became flesh … and he lived among us … and we saw his glory … the glory of God’s only Son … and we saw that he was the fullness of both grace and truth.”
So, as we light the 4th Advent Candle – the Christ Candle – we do so in humble thanks to God, for sending our Savior – fully God and fully man – so that we might be rescued from the darkness of sin and brought into the eternal light of life.
Prayer: Great Father in Heaven, on this 4th weekend of Advent, all our attention turns to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Though his entrance into our world was anything but spectacular, we know that his perfect life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection have brought us life eternal. May the songs we sing today, and the prayers we pray, and the love we share be an authentic display of our hearts’ devotion to you, as we celebrate Christmas in this place, in the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Photo Credit: "Candle" by Arvind Balaraman; Freedigitalphotos.net