The Birth of Jesus Compels Everyone to Respond
Christmas does not just introduce us to the baby in the Manger, but it takes us to the beginning of all things and reminds us of what has gone wrong with the world as we see it today. Christmas also brings us to the identity and the ministry of Jesus, and takes us all the way to the consummation of all things and to the return of Jesus Christ, when he restores and establishes everything back to something, even much better than the paradise of Eden.
In the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 2, right in the preamble of the birth of Jesus, you do not only see his coming, but you see his going. You do not only see his being born, but you also see his death on the cross. You do not only see his ministry, but you also see the outcome of what people become as a result of Christ's ministry.
Most people do not celebrate Christmas. Instead, they celebrate an X-mas and end up with an "X-Mess"! Many people are usually increasingly taken up with getting ready for Christmas but they do not express any interest of getting ready for Christ. They hang flashing lights in their houses but live in fearful darkness in their souls! They exchange gifts but never accept God's gift of love that was given to the world on Christmas day.
The sum of the message in this post is that a Christmas without Christ is the vainest of all pagan holidays and no one can truly celebrate Christmas without Christ as his or her Savior. A Christmas that is merely full of hustle and bustle of activity, and mere eating and drinking and rejoicing without Christ is an X-mas: a Christmas without Christ; and an “X-mess”: a total mess!
Now many of us could confidently say we've been waiting for God. But have we been waiting for God the right way? What does it mean when you say you are waiting upon God? Does it mean you are in church 24/7 singing and praying and crying and complaining why God is not coming faster? Doest mean being overzealous and cutting yourself off from the rest of life, and beginning to live in a convent or monastery?
Is it possible that a church can intellectually understand the foundations of faith, theologically believe the doctrines of Scripture, daily go through the emotion of Christian living: and yet miss the power of God at work in the lives of its members? Today's church is full of people who are not worshipping God for who he is, but for what he promises to give them. Today's church is a church that is longing, hungry and empty; and yet looking in the wrong places to fulfil its needs.
Come down Lord, we miss you. We can't imagine going through this year without you. We want to become those people that once enjoyed your fellowship, that once experienced your power, that once basked in the sunshine of your love. This is the commitment that this message is asking of you, that this year is going to be a year of longing and waiting, hungering for more of God, rethinking and refocusing our relationship with God. That this year is going to be a year where the Church will cry for God's smile; cry for God's helping hand; and cry for God's caring heart.