I strolled the halls and lobbies of our church the other day needing inspiration for the upcoming Christmas series, of which I am well into at this point. The decorating team transformed wall space and corners into Christmas joy with the beauty of greens, trees, garlands and red bows. Lights shimmered and sparkled and the large tree outside dazzled with multi-colored lights and shiny, spherical ornaments of all sizes.
There was no question in my mind that I would gain the inspiration I needed. Lights and decorations take me to another place as the joy of the season beckons me to the One for whom the celebration exists. Long ago, I made it my habit to appreciate every Christmas decoration, letting it constantly remind me of the utter importance of the incarnation. God literally came to the earth, stepped foot on its soil, breathed its oxygen, beheld the stars, shivered in its wind, sweated in its heat. Jesus felt its pain, captured its joys, and provided a way to the Creator of it all. He came to seek and to save (Luke 19:10). He came to serve (Mark 10:45). He came to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18). He came to offer us a life found in no other place (John 10:10).
Jesus is unique among all other religious characters and deities because in Him, God became man. God came near, Immanuel, God with us. Still retaining His Godhood, He became one of us to draw us unmistakably with relevance and conviction. John calls it supernatural illumination (John 1:5). You see, Jesus is more than just light, the kind we see everyday no matter how spectacular the show or how numerous the bulbs. Jesus is the Light of life (John 1:4). He offers life, the fulness of life now and the continuance of life forever more.
May everyone this Christmas season who drives though neighborhoods, walks through stores, hangs their stockings, decorates cookies, and plugs in strands of lights feel that unique sense of joy like no other time in the year-- and wonder why. May that point all people, like the star of Bethlehem, to Jesus Christ.