God's entry into history and invitation to eternity

In a single verse, Luke gave us a snapshot of the first Christmas. “And [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).”

This is the image we have grown up in the Philippines. Mary and Joseph were watching over their newborn son lying on a manger, a trough, because they could not find a room in Bethlehem. Nothing could be simpler than that.

There was no food, no celebration, no gifts nor decorations to adorn their temporary shelter. They were in the company of animals who cared less that a baby boy “appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel (Luke 2:34)” was born.

God could have arranged the boy's birth in pomp and abundance. Yet, He directed His birth to be as lowly and humble imaginable. Joseph was a carpenter and they could definitely afford a room in the inn. God, however, chose that stable or cave, together with the smelly animals, as the perfect place for the Savior's entry into human history.

What does He want to tell us? God wanted us to see that Jesus lived up to His title, Immanuel (Mat. 1:23), which meant, “God with us.” Christmas marked the beginning of the journey of the Lord of the universe literally alongside His creation.

Though He had been journeying with them from the beginning of time, His entry into their world as the Father's only Son meant that He chose to journey as one of them-- a Divine clothed in humanity. This is what John meant when he said, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us... (John 1:14).”

God dwelt among us with the birth of Jesus. It was a brief 33 years or so but enough to alter the course of human history forever. The Christ walked among us, ate with us, was thirsty just like anyone of us, cried at the death of a loved one, made friends, and loved unconditionally.

In the midst of the brokenness and misery that defined life on earth, that child was “The light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).”

Lying on the manger, Jesus entered into our history. Yet this was just the beginning of the story that led to the final victory at the cross where He opened an entry for us into eternity.

God made His dwelling among us and He invites everyone to make a dwelling with Him. This was made possible by His Son who is “...the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).” This Christmas, He reminds us of this invitation: “...everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40).”

God entered our history. He invites us to dwell with Him in eternity. God's only way is Jesus, when we look to Him and believe. Merry Christmas!
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