The day our culture has catapulted us into since November 1 is finally (and really!) here: Christmas.
There is much to celebrate today: gift giving (and getting), food, family, and (hopefully) some rest. But the greatest thing to remember to celebrate—what I suggest you center your celebration around—is found in Titus 2:11-14.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
In all the “stuff” we do on this day, it’s easy to forget about the Baby born to save us. Jesus didn’t just come to give us “Away in the Manger.” He came to give us a way in the manger. The “grace of God” appeared in the form of a Baby—His Son, Jesus.
And yet we are living “in between” times. One bookend for us is His birth in Bethlehem. The other bookend is His return, our “blessed hope,” when Jesus returns and completes the promise to restore the world to the peace His life guarantees.
While we’re living “in between,” we must reflect on our salvation as such: bookended. This salvation given to us by Jesus teaches us to think of the next world and the life we are given in Christ. This world is not our home; it’s our mission field. Our growth in the knowledge of the ways of the Master is not to simply gain more knowledge (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:1). Instead, it’s to promote a passion for living lives with purpose and significance for the One Who was born in that manger so long ago.
It was our Lord and Savior Jesus who gave Himself to make the way for us to know Him and His Father. This Baby in the manger had a singular mission: redemption of the human to the Father. And this is what the cross did.
While we live in the “in between time” of His first arrival and His second, may we see the nativity through the lens of the empty tomb.
Blessings to you and yours on this Christmas Day!
Note to readers: Starting next week, I will return to my regular schedule of releasing a new blog post every Wednesday morning. Thank you for reading!