pecaspers: a Blog in transition

December 24, 2012

Christmas Thoughts…

Filed under: Culture,My Life in General,Tallassee Tribune drafts — pecaspers @ 9:32 AM

[This is the full text of an article I cut down to fit the requirements for a submission to The Tallassee Tribune on behalf of the Tallassee Ministerial Alliance.]

First, I need to make a confession. On Thursday, Dec. 20, I had had too much caffeine as I made a long drive home, and so I found myself struggling to fall asleep as midnight approached. I’m ashamed to admit that with the wind howling outside, I caught a slight case of the heeby-jeebies considering the irrational thought that just maybe the Mayans were right about some impending cataclysm. I tell you this as a set up to explain why I knew better and to show what this all has to do with Christmas.

After the flood, some 1700-ish years after creation, God made a promise as he enjoyed the sacrifice Noah made having been brought with his family out of the ark.

“…The Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21, 22 ESV)

God destroyed and remade everything through the flood. He restarted the spread of humanity over the earth by showing grace to one man and his family and saving them from the flood. He promised Himself that He wouldn’t repeat this kind of destruction, even as He recognized that mankind is inclined toward evil from the start. So the Mayans couldn’t be right because the whole idea of their calendar is based on a cyclical view of time–destruction and recreation without end–while the Bible reveals that time is linear with a beginning and always moving forward to the end God laid out before He began it all. But what’s that got to do with Christmas?

Mankind is inclined to evil, lawlessness, disobedience to God, sin. This is because everything reproduces after its own kind, and when Adam sinned and broke his relationship with his Creator he became a sinner only able to reproduce more sinners. However, after the fall of man as God was cursing the serpent (on His way to cursing the woman and the man), God gave a promise saying, “I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15 ESV). “Offspring” here is literally “seed.” Here is the first hint at the coming Messiah, that a man would come born of the seed of woman–men have “seed”, women do not, so this is unique and puts this offspring of a woman outside the line of inheritance of the man such that this one to come is not bound by sin. And He will be struck by the serpent, but He will strike the serpent with a devastating blow to the head. Do you see Christmas yet?

Further back toward the beginning:
God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31 ESV)

Man was made in the image of God to rule creation to the glory of God and to fill all creation with The image of God to the glory of God. And all of creation was spoken into existence by the word of God, and the way creation is ordered was spoken into order by the word of God. And now, it’s Christmas.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 9-14 ESV)

Before He was the baby in Bethlehem, He was the eternal Word of God. After Bethlehem he grew into a man who died as the perfectly sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world through his death on a Roman cross at the hands of the Jewish religious and popular leadership. After the cross, came the grave. And–glory to God–after the grave, came the resurrection!

You can visit the place we’re pretty sure Jesus was born, but you can’t visit his tomb. He’s not there and no one cared to preserve it. He’s coming again, and of that coming no one knows the day or hour, certainly not the Mayans. Will you be ready? We’re 2000 years closer, and He said He’s coming soon. Are you prepared for the real end of this world?

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