At Christmas, we celebrate the entrance of Jesus into the world. This story is rooted in a much larger story that spans back to the beginning of time and moves forward to the end of history.
So, what is this grand story? What is the larger narrative that surrounds the story of Christmas? Well, in order to see this story, we need to start in the beginning.
In the beginning, God spoke everything into existence. He not only made it all, but he holds everything together. God looked at his creation and said that it was “very good.” In this good creation, He placed man and woman. They were entrusted to care for this garden and represent God in His world. He gave them one loving restriction–to not eat the fruit of one tree in this garden.
One day, a tempter came in the form of a serpent and lied to the man and woman saying that if they ate the fruit they would discover true life. They listened to the lie, ate the fruit and in this moment, our world changed. Sin and death came to this earth and horribly disrupted all the creation. This is the world we know–full of violence, pain, sickness and death. In this moment, God made a promise that he would undo our rebellious mess one day.
Well, years passed and one day God spoke to a man named Abram, telling him that he would make him a great nation–that would bless every family on earth! Abram and his wife were old and didn’t have children, but just as God promised, they had a son. God grew this family into a mighty nation and stayed faithful to his promise, even though this nation (called Israel) continued to rebel against God. God promised that one day a Messiah would come–a suffering servant who would remove the sins of the people. This was a good promise, but many wondered when this would take place.
Then, in the fullness of time, Jesus was born. There in the small town of Bethlehem, in a feeding area for animals the King of Creation was born. Jesus grew up and lived in the quietness of a carpenter’s life. When he was 30, Jesus began to become a more public figure, as he went out, gathered disciples and began to teach about the “Kingdom.” Jesus showed himself to be the One that Israel was waiting for–the suffering servant. One dark day, Jesus was betrayed and arrested because he was claiming to be God and was upsetting the religious leaders of the day. He was then hung on a cross and died. His disciples were distraught. They thought he was the Messiah, and now he was dead and buried. However, three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and met with his disciples. He then told them, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” After this, he ascended to heaven–where he is with God the Father. In the beginning, God declared his creation is “very good”–Jesus’ death accomplished the victory over the power of sin and Jesus’ resurrection marked the birth of the new and restored creation. Jesus sent the church into the world and this is the part of the story that we inhabit. However, we are told the end of the story. In the end, God will fully restore his “very good” creation and will establish his rule, His “Kingdom” on this earth fully and finally. God will be faithful to fully undo the mess made by our rebellion.
This is the grand story that the story of Christmas fits within. Our community of faith seeks to make this true story the one that defines our entire lives. Every Sunday, we gather together to remind ourselves of this true story so we might be a true blessing to our families, our neighbors and our city. Come and see what this story does to people as Jesus changes our hearts and lives!