Let's go back to the story we're celebrating. The birth of Jesus, the son of God, begotten not made, fully God and fully man, Wonderful Counselor, Jehovah, Emmanuel, Christ, Messiah. This baby had a belly button. Mary and Joseph had to raise a child (from birth) who was prophesied to be the Messiah of his people. A daunting task, considering many parent's would be happy if they raised their child to be "normal". Regardless of the miracles that brought the two of them to that stable the night he was born. I wonder how different it was for Joseph to have a baby to hold instead of just a baby to talk about. Speaking from my personal story, the difference between having a pregnant wife, and having a child to hold are too numerous to mention. I wonder if his experience was, "I see it, and I believe it".
In the Gospel of John we read the story of the apostles in the upper room, and Jesus, recently risen from the grave, appears to them. When Thomas, one of the twelve comes back, the whole place is buzzing with activity as might be expected. After his friends witness to him about what had happened, he still says that he won't believe it until he sees it. Later on, Jesus comes back into the room and shows Thomas his wounds so that he will believe. "Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).
So, where does that put us? Where do we fit in? Well... we have a choice. We are called by God to partake in the mystery of his Son. We as Christians are both being witnessed to, and bearing witness to the life and grace of Jesus the Messiah. We are like the Shepherds who hear the clarion call of the angel saying, "Peace, do not be afraid", and who after witnessing the baby went out and witnessed to all around that something wonderful has happened. God has come to us, and we can choose to believe in His Truth, Justice, Freedom, Mercy, Grace, Peace, and Glory. Or we can miss the point entirely and in spite of seeing it, choose to not believe. When we choose to believe we can see more clearly that God has come to Earth out of love to deliver his people, and bring them into closer communion with Him.
In the manger is born this day, the promise of God, Grace and Peace personified. Hallelujah! Merry Christmas!
Nick Whitford Youth and Family Ministries