MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I’ve been intentional. Every store clerk, postal clerk, you name it. Maybe some thought I was politically incorrect. So be it. I said it. I meant it. “Merry Christmas!” I said enthusiastically. Nearly every time there was an echo, “Merry Christmas!” Refreshing! Maybe it’s the scary time we’re living in. Possibly people are weary of being told not to say something they want to say. Or, maybe they’re tired of someone being offended over something. Perhaps, we all need some good news. I think that has more than a little something to do with it. We long for good news.

Peel away the layers of glitter, litter, reshaping and retelling of the ancient story, and there’s extreme good news. Good news that’s birthed a million kind acts, and so much beautiful music. We have reasons to shout “Merry Christmas!”

I was reading one of my favorite devotionals this morning (December 22) – Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies. Please allow me to share what I read. I really liked it.

“From the vantage point of creation, it was all very unthinkable. People living separate from God? This was like fish without water, honey that is not sweet, or a sun that provides no heat. Not only did it defy the logic and design of creation, it could not work. Human beings were not hardwired to live independently. We were not made to function on our own and to live based on our own wisdom. We were not created to live by our own limited resources. We were made to live in a constant, life-giving connection to God. People’s separation from God was a functional and moral disaster.

“So this disaster had to be addressed. The tragic gap between God and [people] had to be bridged, and there was only one way. Jesus would have to come to earth as the second Adam and live a perfect life in our place. He would have to bear the punishment for our rebellion and endure the unthinkable—the Father’s [God’s] rejection. It happened at that horrible ninth hour on the day of his crucifixion, when, in a loud voice, he cried, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Mark 15:34). This was Jesus’s most painful moment of anguish as he took on himself the tragedy of our separation from God.

“This moment really was the epicenter of the Christmas story. It was why Jesus came. It was why the angels rejoiced at his coming. He came to be the temporarily separated Son so that we can be the eternally accepted children of God. Now, that’s a story worth celebrating!” (New Morning Mercies, Paul David Tripp, published by Crossway, 2014, December 22 reading)

Jesus’ birth went unnoticed in bustling Bethlehem. Only a few knew. At an inn, probably in a cave out back, in an animal feeding trough, a baby slept. That baby was Jesus, the Christ, Lord of the universe. The world forever changed that night. Merry Christmas!

Author: Randy J. Gauger

Christ-follower, husband of Mary for 52 years, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, writer, preacher, ordained American Baptist Pastor, retired.

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