The Christian drama is no fairy tale, it is not a warm and fuzzy story told to make us feel fat, dumb and happy. It is the definition of reality – it is our foundation. And at the crux of this dramatic story stands the incarnation.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Christ is the ultimate reality of God’s intervention on behalf of His creation. God chose to enter into our midst so as to save us from ourselves. As CS Lewis wrote: “The Son of God became a man to enable humanity to become the sons and daughters of God.” How often do we stop to think about this – Christ came to enable us to be the sons and daughters of God?
In Luke’s account of Christ’s birth we read about the angel Gabriel’s interaction with Mary. This interaction sheds light on the beautiful paradox of our faith. Finding favor with God results in an amazing blessing – we, like Mary, receive new birth. Jesus enters into our life and transforms our world. Salvation, joy, peace, wonder, excitement all erupt from the birth of Jesus, but we must also understand what accompanies “favor with God.” We must understand the paradox of our faith.
Jesus tells us that being in favor with God means we will be out of favor with the world.
"If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:19).
We have one of two ways to respond: 1) Deny Christ and choose this world; or 2) we can respond as Mary did – with a response of surrender.
"And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:38).
In our surrender to God we enter into the glory of covenant. That is, God not only calls us into fellowship with Him, but He overshadows us with His presence. “The Power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). It is in the overshadowing presence of God that we become “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37).
The world was transformed on the day Christ was born and today we are invited to participate in this ongoing transformation. When we step into God we step into the impossible possibility – death from life, joy in suffering, God with us and we with God. The miracle of Christmas is the reality that “Nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37).
Christmas forces us to deal with our concepts of what is real and what is not. How do we respond to the Angels declaration? How do we respond to the drama of God who cloaked Himself in human flesh and came to live among us (John 1:1, 14, 18)? Is the baby in the manger the one who determines our truth – what we know is real, or does our reality find its definition from a society who dresses a portly fella up in red, drops him down chimneys and calls this truth? Are you in favor with God or with the world?