Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Reflection on Christmas

Well, it is Christmas time again.  This year is slightly different for me because it is my son’s first Christmas, so of course even less attention will paid to me.  Oh well, it is the price I pay as an unlikeable introvert and a father.

Personal garbage aside, I’d like to take some time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.  No, not the cheesy stuff you hear on secular entertainment with it being about peace and joy and giving to others.  And no, not that stuff you hear in church about Jesus being born.  That’s only a fraction of it.

To start, we have to go to the beginning.  God created Adam and Eve.  He gave them dominion over the Earth.  In other words, we, as children of them, were supposed to be the dominant life charged with managing His creation.  We were to never die and were to live on this paradise as creatures whose sole enjoyment would be the planet and pleasing God.

But Lucifer hated God.  And so he set out to conquer whatever he could in order to defy Him.  And so, either disguised as a serpent or through a serpent or however he did, he managed to appeal to Eve’s naivety and got her to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.   It probably wasn’t an apple, Hell it may not even have been a literal fruit, but whatever happened, it changed her.

Adam, likewise, did the same, probably out of misguided love for Eve.  Or perhaps it was his own desire to become like God.  Either way, we know the results.  Adam brought a curse unto man, that he toil and labor for his food and resources all his days while Eve brought a curse upon woman that her childbearing would be so much more painful and that she would always be envious of her husband (or men in general).

But one thing that is overlooked is what really happened that day.  What really happened was that Satan conquered the Earth for himself.  You see, spiritual warfare is different from physical warfare.  What he did was introduce sin into the world and thus he ensnared it under his dominion.  Now no longer would man be immortal and ruler of God’s creation.  Instead, he was doomed to toil and serve a new master, one that was harsh, had many demands, but was never appeased or placated.

And so, man lived on sin until his death.  It was something that tormented him all his days.  The wicked gave in and embraced it while the God-fearing clung to hope that God would do something to stave off their affliction.  From the very beginning, though, He had a plan.

And so His Word became flesh.  Immanuel, God with us, was brought into the world.  The nature of Jesus is one that is disputed among Christians to this day.  While all agree that He is God’s Son, the dispute lies in the miracle of his mortal life here on Earth.  I contend that He came to us as a human to live and show us what we should have been.  He was not God incarnate in the strictest sense, but merely a man who represented what all men should have been.  Without sin.  And with faith to cast aside even the mightiest of evils.

His death redeemed us all with God.  But the matter of His birth is probably the part that makes His death all the more significant.  You see, before Jesus, God demanded animal sacrifices for sin and redemption.  Those animals had to be the first-born males without blemish from the clean animals (cloven hoof and chews its cud).  The curse of the sin was taken upon the animal as it was sacrificed to God.

Jesus was, likewise, an Israelite, of the line of King David, who was the first born of Mary.  Mary was a virgin at the time, which means that Jesus definitely opened her womb.  Already we see the holiness of his birth.  More than that, he was without sin, without blemish.  And the Israelites themselves were the “clean” people at the time.

Ironically, he was put to death at the behest of the priests of Israel, which further legitimizes his sacrifice as a kind of sin offering.  His body was cursed, being hung from a tree, after being brutally beaten.  And while they acted out of wickedness, they were ultimately doing God’s Will and, in a weird way, fulfilling their duties as priests to the most Holy God, whether they wanted to or not.

And so Jesus took our sin upon himself and gave his life up for all of us, that whoever believes in Him will not perish completely, but have eternal life.  God, you see, has given us a loophole out of Satan’s dominion.  He has allowed us a chance to become something greater than what we are.  And while we are still bound to death because of our sin, ultimately we will receive eternal life in Him.

For now, we are rebels.  This world wishes to destroy us and our message of hope and salvation.  The wicked strive for more and more power over this world in the name of Satan, even if they do not know it.  Satan himself may be bound up for now or may yet to be bound up, I do not know.  Revelations is a tough part to interpret and many people have different interpretations.  I do know that great evil still exists in this world and that our own world leaders do nothing to stop it.  In fact, much of it is encouraged by them as they gain much wealth and power from it.

Those of us who are true believers in Christ need to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas: that there is sin and death in this world and that Jesus came to give us a way out.  More than that, He came to show us what we should be and ultimately what we will be through God our Father, whose eternal existence is far beyond our comprehension and whose love is a bigger mystery than His existence.