As we reflect back on the birth of Christ and Christmas, and look ahead to the coming New Year, remember God’s complete desire, that of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is for us to be one with him, and as importantly, one with each other. The Casting Crowns lyrics come into my head. “Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth, would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt.” But as hard as it may seem sometimes, He does! At Christmas in Christ we see God’s desire to know us and be known by us. Our relationship with our God is not like that of other religions of one of master to slave. Or like the beliefs of others of a vague form of deism where God is “out there”, detached, and impersonally directing the universe. Our God, The God, desires an intimate relationship with us, one in which we know and desire Him intimately as well. Jesus tells us, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends (Joh 15:15). How remarkable is that! “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27 ESV) How amazing is that when you wrap your head around it!!
And God Proved his desire to have an intimate relationship with us, to be one with him, through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus the Christ. God sent the Son to be born of a woman. He walked this earth, lived our life, bore our sins, carried our cross, suffered, was crucified, died, descended into hell, and was raised from the dead to create and restore a path, a way for us to an intimate, loving relationship with a God who intimately, madly, loves us. SOOOO LOVED GOD THE WORLD, (you and I ), that he sent His Son to demonstrate it. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
However, The works of Jesus on the cross and the salvation and oneness with God it made available to us is not the end into itself. Jesus’ hope is for our oneness with him to be an “unto” something else. Jesus tells us,
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. You are my friends if you do what I command you. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. As God sent me into the world, so I have sent you into the world. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8, 9, 14,12; 17:1)
Reflect on the hope of Christmas. “What is the hope you as a Christian are striving for throughout your life in the world today?” As the new year approaches, “What is the hope you plan to seek and strive for in 2017?