Merry Christmas 2014

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The vulnerability of Christ
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Recently I have been thinking much about God's creation. More specifically, God's good creation, as affirmed in Genesis 1–2. And it is from this that I want to encourage you this Christmas.

You are significant. You are incredibly special. I am not saying this in a kind of self-affirming Joel Osteen-esque way. Make no mistake: you are a sinner and you fall far, far short of the glory for which you were created. But that does not change the fact that God Himself made you; in the full foreknowledge of your shortfalls, He still looked at His handiwork and declared you "good", along with the rest of His creation.

How does this relate to Christmas? It is because God Himself did not shy away from taking on human form. He was born into a family, like most of us, and had to endure the humility of being a helpless human being. And while there were special events surrounding His birth, in many ways Jesus's birth was very normal and ordinary. He would also grow up and for a while, worked and contributed like any other member of His family. He attended and celebrated the weddings of ordinary people, and he went to and mourned at the funerals average, everyday people. For 30 years He lived life just, in essence, as we know it. He did not come to earth to stand out, because when He died on the cross for our sins, it was as a representative of who we are as human beings.

As Christians we are very good at looking at the world and seeing (and vocalising) what is wrong with it. And as someone who is generally very melancholy, I often look at the world and struggle to see past its brokenness. But recently I have been challenged to look at the world as God's good creation and to admire it as such. To see the beauty in small, even "insignificant" things. It is easy to look up at a starry sky and be wowed, but less so to look at a single leaf or goldfish or parent hugging their child and be completely overwhelmed by the beauty of that in and of itself (as part of God's good creation). Even in a world that has been tainted with our curse, much of God's goodness shines forth. And so we are to admire it, care for it and seek to redeem it through our gospel work.

As representatives and people who have been commissioned to carry on Jesus's work here on earth, we are to recognise the value and beauty of God's creation that is around us, as well as the need in others which necessitated His coming (which, incidentally, is exactly the same as ours).

For you, then, Christian, I am giving homework for this Christmas. May it form a part of your Christmas celebration this year, and beyond.

The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

From his fullness we all received grace upon grace. — John 1:14, 16