Luke 2:10-11 - "But the angel reassured them. 'Don’t be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!'" (NLT)
I realized last night that I've been leading Christmas Eve services every year for 21 years now. And SO MANY things have changed in those 21 years. My life today looks nothing like it did even three years ago. But here I am. And one thing hasn't changed: The wonder of the birth of Jesus, and the beautiful words that announced his coming... What did the angels say, again and again? "Fear not."
The birth of Jesus reminds us who God is. Love and redemption and salvation and healing and freedom and life and light and acceptance. Genuinely good news - not just to those who are Christians like us. No, this "good news that will bring great joy" is for ALL people.
God is not angry. God is not against us. God is WITH US. Jesus gives God a human face. Jesus models for us the radical love and inclusion the lies at the very heart of the Universe.
Jesus, whom Christians believe and teach IS ACTUALLY GOD, is not afraid of the sinfulness of human beings. Jesus isn't some cold, distant "holy" God who CAN'T EVEN BE IN THE PRESENCE of sin, like we evangelicals have always been taught about God.
Jesus, whom the writer of Hebrews calls "the radiance of God's glory, and the EXACT REPRESENTATION of God's being" (Hebrews 1:3), isn't somehow offended or harmed by sin. He doesn't shrink back from it. It doesn't cause him to "turn his face away." No, Jesus looks our sinfulness, our brokenness, our dysfunction RIGHT IN THE EYE. He takes it in. He embraces it. He... heals it.
All will be well. All is well. Merry Christmas. ❤️