In the beginning, before there was light, before there was dark or even empty space, there was God. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Son was with God, and he was God. Everything was made through him and nothing was made without him. He is the way, the truth the life and he is the light that shines in the darkness. Darkness has never – and will never – overcome this light, this God, this Jesus.
So the true light, the light which enlightens anyone who asks, came into the world that he had made.
He came into the world through the beautiful, soft-hearted Mary.
Many received him for a while. Stunned shepherds heard the news from an angel choir and ran to see the heart of God expressed in the form of a baby.
But the world did not want to know him. Like hard hearted Herod many found him to be no more than an inconvenience. He rocked their rules, he turned over their tables and questioned their customs. And all he wanted to do was save them. His heart was to heal but they had no room in their hearts for him.
Imagine. He makes a world, he visits that world and his own people despise and reject him. Unthinkable.
But what’s even harder to grasp is that he KNEW they would reject him. But he came anyway.
In fact he came BECAUSE they had turned their hearts from him.
This is the heart of Christmas: God on a mission. A mission to save his messed-up world that had forgotten and forsaken him. A mission to bring light into our darkness, whatever the cost. He would suffer death, even by the cruellest methods, to rescue us from our own darkness. That death was what we should face for turning away from him. But he took our cross upon his own back so that we could be free from guilt.
But that’s not the end of the story. In a final act of ultimate power, when those who rejected him finally had him killed, he defeated death by coming back to life.
This was the masterstroke of his mission: All those hearts who now turn to him can do the same. They too can one day rise again and see him face to face, to spend eternity with him.
To put it plainly, if you follow him in life, you will to follow him through death.
The baby Jesus was the first of many children. Because to anyone who does receive him, who believes in him, the Son of God gave them the right to be called children of God too.
The heart of Christmas is God’s Son in a manger. God making a way for all of us to be called God’s heirs, God’s sons, God’s daughters.
Would you give him your heart?