Let us pray: Dear Savior, what a joy it is today to meet You—as a humble Child lying in a manger. As we think of You in our mind’s eye, we have no fear. For You meet us in love, humility, compassion, and timeless gentleness. Cause us to pick You up, hold You in our arms, and embrace You! And as we do so, all our fears will recede into nothingness. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, YOUR LOVING SAVIOR!
TEXT: John 1: 1-2, 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners Made Holy By The Word Made Flesh:
So, now that the presents are opened, the parties done, and thoughts have shifted from putting up decorations to taking them down, does Christmas joy fill your soul? I fear that too many people get caught up in the preparations for Christ’s birthday because they find it a relief from the inner pain they face each day. And then, once those preparations are completed and the day is over, they lapse back into that pain. Such folks, your neighbors, friends, and relatives, don’t bask in the joyful glow of Christmas because countless barriers and roadblocks have been thrown up preventing them from experiencing it. Some are self-inflicted, some are the products of this sinful world, some just are….But, by God’s grace you and I are different! We are special and unique! We don’t have to let fear, guilt, or personal pain overwhelm us. All this is true because “the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.” I’m here to tell you this morning that at Christmas:
GOD HAS TORN DOWN ALL ROADBLOCKS TO HIS GRACE!
Let me share with you two stories which illustrate my point. A young woman didn’t know who to talk to about her pain. It seems her mother was suffering from cancer and her 24 year old life was put on hold because of it. One day she spoke of this to another woman who was a Christian. Amid the holiday hoopla and the seasonal clichés she had taken the weight of the world, her world, upon her shoulders. That Christian woman reminded her that God’s loves her, that He won’t send us more than we can handle in life, and that the truth of Philippians 4: 13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” applied to her. That Christian reminded her that God loved her so much that He chose to meet her wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.—So, she had nothing to fear because God was approachable. Yes, a baby is the most approachable comfort there is! And all God wanted her to do was to embrace that Baby and take His love into her heart. For by doing so His eternal strength would become her own.
That hurting young woman had never really thought about that. She always thought that God was far off and demanded a saint, a priest, or a spotless life from her in order for Him to accept her and her pain. But, of course, at Bethlehem, we see none of that, do we? There God meets us One-on-one. He meets us in the most non-threatening form there is—A Baby. Yes, “the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.”
All people fight their own demons. And if they do it alone they will be overwhelmed and destroyed. I know of a man who is fighting such inner demons right now. He cries himself to sleep at night because of things he has done in the past. He wants God in his life. He wants to regain the innocence he once had as a child. He wants to be happy and not to fear death. He wants to get through the night without waking up in a cold sweat with premonitions of hell.
I’ve told this man the same thing that Christian woman told to her hurting friend.—Take the Baby Jesus to heart. He loves you! He was born to save you! He had you in mind when He was lying in that manger. Let Him exercise His eternal power and send the Holy Spirit to comfort you! Don’t be afraid! For He will never leave nor forsake you! Don’t throw up roadblocks of past sins that you’re sorry for get in the way of your path to the manger. For God forgives and forgets. He “remembers your sin no more” in Christ! Yes, Christmas proves that God is not unapproachable. He’s ready and able and desperately desires you to take Him in your arms. Yes, God Has Torn Down All Roadblocks to His Grace! For as Paul writes to Titus: “The grace of God has appeared (in Christ) bringing salvation to all men.”
Christmas Day is always very special to me. It has a warm, cozy feel to it. For on this day I dwell on God’s continual goodness and approachability. He’s not far away. He doesn’t come with lightning flashes and thunderbolts like the Greeks in their guilty consciences felt Zeus did. No, God Almighty does not want to scare us away. He doesn’t want to intimidate us. He doesn’t want us to fear Him any longer as Adam and Eve did after they fell into sin. Instead, He wants us to love Him and embrace Him in faith and joy! That’s why He was born. That’s why He came. And that’s why this day is so special—God came to us and comes to us in total love. And so, my friends, never forget that His love has torn down all roadblocks to His grace! Gaze upon the Christ-Child and your fears will be gone! Amen