Christmas can seem to come and go so fast.
It seems that we barely bought our Christmas tree, named it (if you’re like me), and decorated it before its pine needles start to go a little dry and its nearly time to say goodbye.
But I’m wondering this year—what if we viewed Christmas not just as a season but as the beginning of a rescue story?
Because Christmas truly was only the beginning of the Greatest Rescue Story ever.
Jesus Came to be our rescuer
Jesus didn’t just come to earth to be near us for one night and then go home.
He chose to grow up with us.
He chose to come down to this earth and participate in everyday life with us for thirty-three years. He chose to eat our food. He chose to walk our streets. He chose to become a carpenter and put His hands to our work. He chose to grow up among us, to truly and fully be a part of our world in the realest and most practical ways.
Jesus could have come down as a man, fully grown and ready to leap into a three-year ministry and carry out the redemptive story.
He could have even just come down to earth for the Day of the Cross and it would have been enough. His sacrifice would have still been just as perfect and completely redeeming—and He could have saved Himself thirty-three years of living in this broken world.
So why did God choose to come to our world as a baby?
God with us
This is where the miracle of the Christmas season can begin to undo us a little: Christ left the glorious perfection of heaven for us—and He didn’t just leave it for one day to check our redemption off His list and then leave. He came to be Emmanuel.
God With Us.
Not God Near Us.
He came to be God With Us. He came to dwell among us. He came to walk with us. He came to live with us. He came to grow up with us, to experience what we experience, and to share in life with us.
Not because He needed to learn anything about us. He already knew us inside and out. After all, He created us. He wasn’t coming to our planet to learn more about the alien world of earth and collect samples to send back to His Father in Heaven.
He simply came out of a heart of love and a desire to be with us.
This gets down to the heart of the Christmas season: It’s ultimately not about what we do, how we perform, or what we can produce. It’s not about who we see or the places we go. It’s not about charging ahead into the New Year with a perfect list of goals. It’s not about having it all together. It’s not about how well we wear the mask of being okay when we’re breaking inside. And it’s especially not about deserving Emmanuel.
Brothers and sisters, Christmas is not about deserving Emmanuel. Because the truth is that none of us ever could, no matter how hard we try. Without the baby in the manger, our broken hearts are left abandoned—cold, wretched, and “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Christmas is only ever all about Jesus drawing near to us and us responding to the greatest love story of all time.
Like a key to unlock the mystery and grandeur of Christmas, Emmanuel comes to turn all the lights on in our darkened hearts.Christmas is only ever all about Jesus drawing near to us and us responding to the greatest love story of all time. Click To Tweet
Emmanuel, God With Us, is the reason we no longer have to fear. Christmas is all about releasing us from fear. When we read the Christmas story, we see this exhortation over and over again: Do not be afraid.
God tells Zacharias:
“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.’” Luke 1:13.
God tells Mary:
“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30.
God tells Joseph.
“…behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’” Matthew 1:20.
God tells the shepherds.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people…’” Luke 2:10.
Christmas comes for all our stowed away secrets, all our broken places, all our inadequacies, all our impossibilities, all our wondering, and all our dark scars that we try to keep hidden from everyone, including ourselves.
Christmas comes for all the grief we feel, all the mistakes we’ve made, and all the pain we desperately wish to forget. It comes to tell us that Christ already knew us for who we really were when He decided to come dwell with us. He knew the wretched, miserable, broken sinners we were—and He came anyway.
He came anyway.Christmas comes to tell us that Christ already knew us for who we really were when He decided to come dwell with us. He knew the wretched, miserable, broken sinners we were—and He came anyway. Click To Tweet
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8.
We couldn’t scare Him away then and we can’t scare Him away now and all that’s left is to rest in His gift of presence with us. We are fully known and still fully loved. We do not have to be afraid.
Christmas comes to tell us that we are forgiven, free, and fully found. The baby in the manger grew up to be the God-Man on the cross, and there with his raw flesh rubbing up against the Calvary tree our redemption was finished.
Emmanuel is the reason that Christmas doesn’t come to an end on December 26th.
Christmas is only the first day of Glory Himself walking among us. Only the first day of Emmanuel. Only the first day of God’s glorious rescue story. Only the first day of our healing. Only the first day on the road to our redemption.
Brothers and sisters, isn’t that a reason to sing? Like the shepherds, we can go with haste into the presence of God.
So…. what if we choose to see Christmas not just as a season but as the beginning of a rescue story? Could it change the way we move into the New Year?
Instead of leaving our Christmas celebrations behind in the dust and moving glumly into what we label as the Reality of January—maybe we could dare to move forward into this glorious reality: God is with us.
God is with us. Let’s allow that miracle to transform us inside and out this year. God is with us so we don’t have to be afraid. We can laugh when days get hard, we can love when fear threatens to swallow us whole, and we can stand up and sing when we would rather sink because God is with us and that is enough for any day of the year.
Let’s write it on our calendars in January, March, and May to remind us when it gets real and hard: God is with us.
We can see God in the workplace, in the classroom, and during our study hours. We can see God when we’re driving on the freeway, doing dishes, and having dinner with our family. We can see God in the everyday and in the extraordinary, in laughter and in tears, during ups and downs.God came to be with us….so we could be with Him. And therein lies the miracle of Christmas. Click To Tweet
We simply must choose to intentionally run after Him—choose to respond to His daily invitation to walk with Him and diligently look for Him in all the nooks and crannies of our everyday.
God came to be with us….so we could be with Him. And therein lies the miracle of Christmas.