What is Christmas? (Part II) – The Manger and the Crown

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(This is the second post in a two-part series about the meaning of Christmas and an overview of the story of the Gospel. Part I can be found HERE.)

The Manger

After centuries and centuries of waiting for God’s promise of a snake-crushing savior, it was time! The Son of God Almighty, born in human flesh, came to be physically present with mankind. Surprisingly, this great Messiah was born in a small town to an ordinary Jewish teenager and placed in a lowly food trough for animals as a newborn. Throughout His life, Jesus the Christ would display the power of God in  awe-inspiring miraculous works, but He would also live humbly, never achieving great political power or status. He would move among common people, the sinners and outcasts, the unclean, and the ordinary. He brought healing, compassion, and restoration, a glimpse of how things ought to be. His words taught the people about what the Kingdom of God looked like, how to enter it, and that He was the fulfillment of all their waiting. But ultimately He was rejected, scorned, and crucified.

Thankfully, this unjust and horrific death was no accident. His death was a sacrificial act, atoning for the past, present, and future sins of His people, bearing God’s righteous judgment for sin that we all deserve. And then He rose from the dead, conquering death itself and displaying the glorification that awaits His people. In doing this He made a way for the lost to be reunited with the Father. And now, anyone who trusts in who He is and what He did and recognizes that submitting to His kingship in everything, though difficult at times, is infinitely worth the cost – can come back from their sin and brokenness and enjoy relationship with the Father.

So the story of Christmas continues with a manger, a picture of the Creator of the Universe humbling Himself to come be with us in lowly human form, so that He could make a way for us to be with Him both now and for eternity. It is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His promises, and marks a huge leap forward in God’s plan to ultimately restore all of creation back into perfect relationship with Him.

The Crown

Christ’s physical presence on the earth was a glorious thing, but He promised that it would be even better after He ascended back to the Father because the Holy Spirit would be sent. God Himself would now dwell with each and every one of His people, regardless of time or space. From the moment the Spirit was given to His church at Pentecost through this very day, God has dwelt and is dwelling with the remnant of His people, empowering and sanctifying them. Through every trial, in the midst of every evil and darkness, God shines bright in and through His people.

But there will come a day when we will not have to fight anymore, when our blinding sin and all evil and darkness are obliterated, and we will be in even more perfect union with God. The fog of this earthly life will lift and we will see reality as it truly is. The LORD and King will perfect and redeem all of creation, and we will enjoy His glorious reign forever and ever.

So the story of Christmas continues and ends with a crown, a reminder that someday the King will return to set all things right, to bring a final and complete healing, and to dwell with His people in the most perfect and unimaginable way.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

-Revelation 21:3-4, 23-27

Whatever your present circumstances, may the Gospel bring you hope and joy this Christmas!

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