The waiting leads us here. Centuries of anticipation. Generations of promise.
In a manger… a stable yard… God himself enters the realm of man. Taking on flesh. Breathing the air, filling his lungs for crying. Angels have declared his arrival. Men have declared his greatness.
And in that moment of arrival we find hope.
That babe will become a man. A sinless, obedient man. Calling all manner of people to believe in him.
The One eagerly awaited speaks a radical embrace of brokenness and provides himself as a substitute in our place. Taking on death when we deserve the dying.
And in that moment of substitution we find salvation.
The King of kings breathes again. From a tomb to the room of his disciples, preaching the grace of his death and the coming gift that will seal them and call others to himself. Then ascending to the throne in Heaven where he looks upon repentant and faithful men and women, boys and girls, and claims them as his own.
And in that moment of belonging we find identity and freedom.
This is the meat of advent, the sustenance that carried and comforted those that waited and that encourages and empowers those that believe. The advent remembers and celebrates the grand intervention.
Left to ourselves we are a lost bunch… all of humanity missing the connection with the Creator, goes running after itself and the latest philosophies and pleasures to find purpose… and instead we fall further from our destiny. When we agree that the laws of relationship with God are the best course, we fail even in our attempts to follow them.
We are in need of a correction. We are in need of redemption. We need someone to intervene. Then the baby arrives.
Of this intervention the Apostle Paul says this in the letter to the Galatians.
4:4-7 “4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
The promise of Christmas is redemption and adoption.
The fullness of time. At the right time, God has sent his Son to live under the law to intervene. To redeem those that apart from him were without hope. Salvation has come!
But the Savior we celebrate at Christmas does not just intervene to give us another chance, or a head start. The baby is born “so that we might receive adoption as sons” and daughters.
If you believe in Jesus – that he was your substitute – you are an heir with him. You are as secure as Jesus is at this moment. Loved by God as only a perfect and adoring father can love.
As if that is not enough good news, Jesus grants you his Spirit to enliven you to the reality of your identity in him.
Jesus comes to rescue us from sin and he gives the Spirit to apply that rescue to our attitudes and actions… to leave us in awe at the great lengths God has gone to redeem, comfort and claim his people.
You no longer have to be lost. You no longer have to be a slave. There is freedom and identity for you in that babe in the manger. In that man on the cross. Believe in Jesus. Let his Spirit cry out for you, “Abba, Father.”
The promise of Christmas is redemption and adoption. Believe in it. Be reminded of it.
You are free in Jesus. Free to love your family. Free to smile. Free to celebrate. Free to enjoy Christmas.
The waiting is over. The arrival has come. The Savior reigns.
There is no truer joy than knowing him and being his… May our lives repeat the sounding joy!