Christmas Eve


Childbirth is rough, painful business.  I’ve said that if childbirth were left to men, the human race would have become extinct thousands of years ago.

So we turn this evening to Bethlehem, in a low ceiling cave.  It would have to do for a nearly warm, clean, dry place for a young woman to have a baby.  Remember in the old movies how the doctor would tell somebody to boil water and get clean sheets?  I would not imagine anything like that happening during this birth.

I can imagine a few stragglers walking through the town that night.  They could hear the cries of the young mother. Then there were the cries of a new child… a boy.

And prophesy was fulfilled.

Around three decades later there would be cries, too.  Not the cries of childbirth, but the cries of a man suffering an awful death by crucifixion.  His mother cried.

And prophesy was fulfilled.

And God loved us …and still loves us so much that he sent his own son to be born of a virgin.  He was perfect, but he was reviled by some.  A phony trial where he could have been released turned instead to a guilty verdict.  The crowd got its way. This man was tortured before  being nailed to those big wooden slabs.

And prophesy was fulfilled.

A benevolent man donated a grave, and the body placed in it.

Then, three days later, some of this man’s followers came to that grave…and it was empty.  There was one being sitting on top of the rock that had been used to seal the grave….now rolled away from the entrance.  Sitting, I would imagine as if to taunt its lack of power to hold him in. 

And prophesy was fulfilled.

There were cries of incredulity, joy, wonder when this man…who was not a man but a supernatural being… but a man nonetheless seen, touched, and engaged in conversation.  One of his followers had to touch the scars to believe it was him.

The prophets were clear.  The events were clear.  Jesus Christ explained who he was, and is today.  He is the fulfillment of God’s intention to offer redemption for us. Understand all of it?  No, I don’t.  The fact that it doesn’t make sense is one of the keys to understanding that it takes our faith and trust.

At Christmas, we celebrate the cries not only of a newborn babe, but Jesus’ cries during his execution, and death.  

And maybe we cry at some time tonight or tomorrow.  We cry at such amazing grace, and remember the hour we first believed.

Merry Christmas 







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