The Light of the World
Christmas . . . There is no better time of year. Eggnog, cookies, gifts, connecting with family and friends, all happens at a heightened level over this time of year. Whenever I think about this time, my immediate thoughts go to special moments that I have shared with others in past Christmas seasons. As much as we think about the many warm special moments, Christmas is so much bigger. For us, Christmas is when “the light of the world” came streaming into darkness in the form of a baby.
A book that my son, Harrison, and I would read through was, the Jesus Storybook Bible: Everything Whispers His Name, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The book is a children’s book that points every story in the Bible to Jesus. I think as we read scripture, it can always point us to Christmas.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reading in the book of Jonah. Jonah is a fascinating story with all sorts of nuggets that we can take away. We all think of the big fish that swallowed Jonah and took him to where he needed to go. I think there is a unique message with a perspective on Christmas in the story.
Long story short, Jonah was sent to Nineveh to share Christ’s love with the Assyrians. A quick look at who the Assyrians were tells us they were the worst of the worst. Yet, despite this, Jonah was sent to communicate the Gospel to them.
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. He went as far the other way as he could. God intervened and got him headed in the right direction because He loved Jonah and the Assyrians. At the end of the book there was a verse that stuck with me and is framing Christmas for me this year.
Jonah 4:2 “For I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, One who relents from doing harm.”
The nature of God never changes. He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness. You will see His nature communicated time and time again throughout all of scripture. The baby Jesus who came on Christmas is the greatest demonstration of His nature. Light collided with darkness to change the world. Scripture tells us we were all sinners “. . . separate from Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world.” BUT, the God who created us would not leave us in the miserable, desperate state we were in. He came as a baby who grew up into the King of Kings who would rescue us. The Savior who would save us from our sins.
This year make the backdrop of your Christmas celebrating a gracious and merciful God who is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, one who relents from doing harm, and at great cost had a heart set to rescue us. It will make for a meaningful Christmas for you, I promise.