Thursday, December 22, 2011
It has finally arrived. The last day of the Advent season has come and with it, Christmas Eve. Tonight's worship will take us to the manger where we shall behold the holy scene which fills us with such awe and wonder. At last we shall have a glorious moment of being so immersed and overwhelmed by the music that it will seem we are in some faraway field where the angel of the Lord announced the heavenly news of a Savior being born in Bethlehem. We will hear that ancient exciting story read from Luke's gospel, but only after we have also heard the dreadful somber word of Genesis 3 telling us we are sinners.
On a glorious night such as Christmas Eve, it has always seemed out of place to be reading about Adam and Eve and their awful choice. Yet, the two readings are so connected and so important for our ears and hearts to hear. Celebrating the birth of a Savior is impossible unless we understand we are sinners. If we are not sinners, there is nothing to celebrate except the memory of a wise spiritual leader. But, the truth is we, like that Garden of Eden couple, have made wrong choices which have separated us from any possibility of being in the presence of a holy God. We are sinners and we would be hopelessly undone were it not for this child about whom the angel said, "...to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior." (Luke 2:11)
I saw a guy on a street corner today holding a large cross as a silent witness to those of us who hurriedly passed by on our last minute shopping spree. In bold white letters he had written on the crossbeam, "Trust Jesus." My first thought about this John the Baptist kinda guy was that he had the wrong symbol, but then there is no need to worship the child in the wooden trough if we do not realize He was born to die on a wooden cross for each one of us. Only as we see it all can we kneel in Bethlehem with the awe and wonder of those ancient shepherds.