When my kids were growing up, we’d read the original Christmas story from the book of Luke every year. This habit predated motherhood to the first year I accepted salvation. After these 30 or so years of reading this passage, I just found something new. It’s one of the reasons why I love this special book. Its words are living, animated by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers. It’s an amazing read, even if you aren’t a believer. Time Magazine (circa 2007) said, “Has done more to shape literature, history, entertainment, and culture than any book ever written. Its influence on world history is unparalleled and shows no signs of abating.”
“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]…”Hebrews 4:12
Over two thousand years ago, God did something radical. He reduced his own majestic and beloved son, placing him into an earthy body and mind on the earth to be one of us. He came into our lives, limited by his human form, knowing our limitations and temptations intimately but still being perfect. It wasn’t so he could relate to us, because he ready does, but to live a perfect life, making him the only possible payment. He could have presented himself to humankind in any way. I’m convinced that the nature of his entrance was to show us he knows what it’s like to be in the trenches of this life. Love came down that first Christmas, lived among us, walked with us, and talked with us. Due to the events in Eden’s garden, we lost that ability to be with him intimately.
“And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us…”John 1:14
How profound is John 1:14? God called Jesus his word. In other passages, His word is a light for our path. It’s a two-edged sword that can separate our flesh from our spirit. It’s used to lead, guide, and correct us. He animated his word in the flesh to the earth and lives in it still as we read it. Have you ever been reading the scripture and found yourself on an entirely different verse that speaks to your situation? Maybe you’ve been humming a worship song that’s super relevant to your life. A verse may come to mind as you are praying. This is God’s living word, meeting you where you are and speaking to you. He reaches out daily in his message, his word, his spirit, and others. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks.
“Behold, I stand at the door [of the church] and continually knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him), and he with Me.”Revelation 3:20
In all of my relationships, I have noticed that the more we talk and interact, the closer we get. On the flip side, the less we talk, the easier it is for us misunderstandings to happen. We quickly forget a person’s character and misjudge them when we don’t talk with them. The Bible said that Adam walked in the cool of the day with God, I don’t know how often the cool of the day took place, but it seems like a specific time. The Bible doesn’t mention that Eve cultivated this relationship with God. That’s probably why the serpent approached Eve first. Adam and Eve spent all day every day together. She was able to influence Adam. There’s a lie that’s spoken that God (and Christians) want to condemn others. That is the biggest lie about the gospel.
“For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”John 3:16-17
The only way to know anyone, even God, is to communicate with them. Talking is easy, but how do we listen to God? To get to know a friend, we spend time with them, observing their words and their actions. It’s no different with God. Jesus came down as a baby, not a king. The action here tells us that God is approachable. He grew and lived among hums. The action tells us that he can relate to us. He was tortured and died for our sins. The action tells us there’s nothing he won’t go through to make a way for us to return to us. We discover his words and actions in the Bible, his word to us. The only way we know the truth about someone is not by listening to gossip about them but by spending time with them. He gave us his word.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”Romans 10:17
Have you wondered what you would have been doing if you had been in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth? I have often wondered. I’d like to think I would have wandered into that area, that I saw the light from heaven, that I would have stopped what I was doing to sense thatGod was doing something special. The truth is, I find myself passing him by sometimes in my current life, or I realize realizing that I missed a God opportunity because I was distracted, busy, or upset. Would I have done the same and then missed the single action that changed life for all humanity? I do know that I have been given a chance to know him.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”John 17:3
He put his word on the street. He came to us so that we, in turn, can come to him. Maybe you’ve let that relationship become more of a memory than a relationship. Maybe you’ve never got to know him through his sacrifice. He is still making the first step, knocking at the door, ready to receive us the moment we open it. There is no timelapse. During this season, as we remember that he came down to us, let’s remember that the whole purpose is to get to our level so he can bring us to his. He isn’t out of reach or too far away. Let’s turn our hearts to him and see just how much he loves us.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”Matthew 7:7
God, If I were in Bethlehem at the time, I’d like to think I’d be right there at the manger, witnessing the most significant moment in human history. If I’m honest, I don’t really know if I would have been there or if I would have been distracted with reunions, shopping, tasks, or fear over affording my taxes. It’s easy to get carried away with all we have to do, be weighed down by cares, and be distracted by fear. Although I can’t be sure of what I would have done then, now, I chose to sit still and reflect on the great lengths you go through have a relationship with humankind, with me. I open the door of my heart for you to enter humbly. I love you, God. Thank you for the greatest gift of all.