Christmas Eve is the day when many in the world celebrate the birth of Jesus. For others Christmas Eve marks the final hours of waiting until Christmas Day and celebrate the start of the day at midnight. Others wait until the morning to start the day which, if you have young children, can be very much still the middle of the night!
Whichever day you choose to mark the occasion, in a matter of hours those of us who celebrate Christmas will be doing so to remember Jesus’ birthday.
One of the most obvious yet profound realities which we mark as Christians at Christmas is that Jesus was born. Jesus didn’t just ‘appear’ in the world; he was born into it. He didn’t come to us already fully mature; he started out as we all do in life.
This is something which can be quite hard to get your head around. God becoming man is amazing enough, but to do so by starting out with nothing – that takes some coming to terms with.
What on earth is God trying to tell us by coming in this way?
Why start out with nothing? Why come in a way which would require learning everything when you already know everything? Why make yourself fully dependent on parents for all your needs when you are already entirely self-sufficient?
God did not need to be born to come into this world or to save it, yet that’s exactly what He did. We may never fully know the reason(s) why but the fact that He did is actually all that really matters.
Jesus has modelled for us what it means to be fully human; to fit perfectly the shape that we were made for and to have the relationship with the Father that we were made for.
He started where we all start and opened a way for us to have that same life. When he spoke with Nicodemus (John 3), Jesus told him that he needed to be ‘born again’ to enter the Kingdom of God. We all, like Nicodemus, need to be born again – not as a label, or a status as some would understand and express it – but as a genuine starting over to live the life that Jesus lives. To understand Jesus’ life requires that we recognise that it’s not so much about ‘who’ he is, but ‘whose’ he is. Jesus was, and still is, his Father’s child. A life lived with the certainty and security of knowing you are your Father’s child is one where your personal identity, provision and purpose are all taken care of.
Imagine living a life where you know who you are, indeed whose you are.
Imagine living a life where everything you need to live and flourish is provided for.
Imagine living a life where you know what your purpose is.
This is the life lived abundantly Jesus spoke of (John 10:10), and it’s the life we can all have because we were born in to this world and the breath of life we have is from God. But to take hold of this life we must be ‘reborn’ to know that God is indeed our Father and we have the right and the power to be His children if we follow Jesus.
The new life doesn’t start ‘then’… it starts right now, and again tomorrow and the day after that, and the one after that, forever.
At the close of this Advent may you know that you can have the same life that Jesus has.
May you see in that little newborn baby an invitation to be reborn again today.
May you live life to the full and know who you are by knowing whose you are.