Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – 1John 3:2
Twenty centuries ago God established a beachhead in enemy territory. Unlike D-Day, this one came quietly and was barely noticed. Most people just continued going about their lives, not knowing anything had changed.
But everything had changed. God was finally executing His long-held plan to redeem fallen creation. And the Lord of Love was going to do it meekly, “through the frailty of [His] Son”, by giving Himself.
Had Jesus come merely to repopulate the earth with godly seed, none of the issues the devil had raised in his rebellion would have been resolved. And the new race could have fallen just as easily as had the first. But Jesus didn’t come to replace, He came to redeem. The Incarnation is only half the story, the other half being the Cross.
Every once in a while – ok, every once in a great while – a really classic Christmas song comes along. It’s too rare these days that a good tune also has lyrics that you can dig into, meditate on and learn from. Back in 1988, Michael Card penned To the Mystery, one such tune.
I pray we can embody the Christmas message and take it to a world in need of hope.
To the mystery
When the Father wanted to show, a love He wanted us to know,
He sent His only Son and so, became a holy embryo.
That is the mystery, more than you can see.
Give up on your pondering, fall down on your knees.
No fiction as fantastic and wild — a mother made by her own child!
The hopeless babe who cried, was God incarnate and man deified.
Because the Fall did devastate, Creator now must recreate.
And so, to take our sin, was made like us so we could be like Him.
Many centuries ago, Christians got tired of the dominant culture celebrating pagan feasts which seduced their weaker members and corrupted their young. So the Roman Winter Solstice feast, an extended drunken and immoral extravaganza (sort of like the prototypical office Christmas party, only a lot longer) dedicated to the god Saturn, was co-opted for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Similarly, Halloween, a night of for ghouls and ghosts to run around unfettered, became a night to remember the faithfully departed.
We see the same thing today. As Halloween has gotten meaner, churches hold wholesome Hallelujah Nights to keep their kids out of danger. This is a good thing.
It’s important to understand that those old Christians were not sitting by passively as an antagonistic culture assaulted their values and their children. They instead went on the offense and took their beliefs into the culture.