I have been pondering the Christmas story, but I just can’t separate it from Genesis 1, when God came down and created our world and mankind. Both were joyful events, new beginnings! But, God knew that one would by its very nature require the other. Because God wants a relationship with His creation, His people, He allows us to exercise free will. How it must make His heart ache to know that we invariably turn from Him and seek our own idols. As I become more intimate with the Bible, I see the many ways that God used to create a path back to Him.
1 Corinthians 15:45-48 NIV
So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.
At first glance, 1 Corinthians 15:42-48, has limited connection to the Christmas story. It talks of the first Adam and the last Adam, not a baby in the manger.
The image of Mary and baby Jesus contrasts boldly with that of Adam and Eve.
Great scholars can find more and better connections between the first Adam and the last Adam than I can. But, I see a few between Eve and Mary, as well. First, Adam, Eve and Mary were created by God. Jesus is fully God and fully man.
Adam and Eve turned away the blessing filled relationship they had with God. By focusing on themselves and their desire to become God-like, they rejected Him, at great cost to all men and giving birth to sin and death. Mary, a child of twelve or thirteen, joyfully received the Christ child even though submitting to God had great costs to her. Mary could have been stoned to death, the people in her small village no doubt gossiped about her, her own husband considered divorce. Yet, she agreed to become a vessel for the Christ child. Mary was not perfect, but she was obedient. Could God have used this young girl to show us how to focus on and submit to Him?
Because of Gods’ great love for us, Jesus came to Earth to repair the relationship between man and God. Jesus gave up His deity to live among us as fully man. He didn’t ask anything of us that He wasn’t willing to do. He mentored us in truly living and worshiping God eternally. That first Christmas leads us directly to Easter, when Jesus paid for our sins, all of our sins. At great cost to Himself, Jesus died so that all men could have their sins forgiven and have their relationship with God made right. He embraced His Heavenly Father and reconnected us. He overcame sin and death for His people.
Getting caught up in busyness by overly focusing on getting the right presents, parties and other gatherings keeps us too busy to understand the depth of love that God has for us. Our attitudes, motivations, self talk can easily become self-absorbed and not God-absorbed. We make Christmas an idol. It is no wonder that Christmas time is a difficult time for so many people. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of activities and miss out on the richness that can come only from reflection and fellowship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My grandpa was a farmer from before the time of the Great Depression until he died in 1951. A cherished Christmas memory is of my mother recounting how, even when they had very little, her daddy would give an extra scoop of feed to the animals he tended on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter morning to honor God. He didn’t talk about it much, he just honored God. Such gentleness and kindness spoke volumes to me about a man I never met. How are you going to honor God this Christmas week?