The Essence of Christmas: Recovery.
I'm sitting here writing this blog while sporting a neck brace.... not actually. I did suffer a neck injury yesterday though. I was in a room at the church and picked up a scrap of paper and went to drop it into the garbage can and then it happened. I looked, then looked away then snapped my head back to the garbage can. Ouch! There was a bottle that looked a little like a wine bottle. What? Did someone have communion in the church and use wine? Oh and there was money lying beside the bottle too. Yes, I said money. I'm gonna have to monitor these Sunday School classes a little closer....
The bottle turned out to be an empty sparkling cider bottle and the money was probably a mistake. I hope. I recovered three dollars and closed the can. The money went into my boot we're filling for the Shelter Services here in town. #Stompouthomelessness
The image above reminded me of the recovery operation God put into action the day Jesus was born in that Bethlehem cattle hold. Throughout the Old Testament, God's prophets kept pointing toward a Savior to come in the future. The angels who visited Elizabeth and Mary in the Gospel of Matthew brought prophecy to the present day. All of these messengers and messages were/are God's design for recovering His people from their sins. This is the essence of Christmas.
Sin is our chief enemy. Well, actually, we are our chief enemy since we choose to separate ourselves from God and God's commands (Genesis 3). Sin is still that constricting force that diminishes our life and casts us aside. The pain that comes with our choices and the ensuing sin hurts us. Guilt and shame continue the decay of any hope, joy, or peace we may have had.
We all know people who have sinned, Not sure about this statement? Go look in the mirror (Romans 3:23). Sin, if left alone, cuts us in half and we are cast aside and thrown into the trash. We still have worth in God's eyes but the world and even some Christian believers will step over us and continue onward. We're left lying alongside empty bottles of hope, joy, peace, and sparkling life. We long to be discovered, uncovered, and rescued (2 Corinthians 5:2-4) . Then Jesus Christ bends near the earth and is born as a baby and we are offered recovery. The Holy Spirit of God sees our broken state and brings us to our senses (Luke 15:17) and we return to God's side. We do a 180 degree change of course and offer our sin, confession, and repentance to Him.
Consider your life right now. Do you feel like $3 lying in a garbage can somewhere? Do you wish someone would happen along and find you? Cry out to Jesus and wait for His calming voice to say, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28, NIV)
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit come to the Lord and allow God's grace to rescue you and recover the divine image within you. Let go of the sins that entangle, empty, and demoralize you. That is the essence of Christmas.