Perspective is everything.
If you were to ask the average Canadian, “What’s your perspective on this holiday we call Christmas?” we would likely hear them tell about family fun, and Christmas baking, coloured lights and the office party, brightly wrapped presents, Santa Claus at the local mall, their holiday ski vacation, and of course the annual Nutcracker ballet.
Oh sure, some may have a superficial memory of the Mary and Joseph story, and the baby Jesus, and maybe the wise men, angels and shepherds. But truth be told, I suspect the average person has little acquaintance with the really big story of Christmas.
So, what is the big deal about Christmas anyway? Why was it that the angel surprised those stunned shepherds on that Galilean hillside over 2,000 years ago?
“Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people,” (Luke 2:10)
What was the angel declaring? Here it is…that angelic announcement was really all about:
The Great Cosmic Romance
For the Bible tells us that, “God is love,” (1 John 4:16), and when we truly understand this, then we will discern that Christmas is in fact all about God’s big move in a great cosmic love story. It’s an incredible story of a divine lover who is madly in love with his creation.
The Apostle John wrote about Christmas when he said,
“How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us.” (1 John 3:1)
And here’s the Apostle Paul’s take on Christmas,
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:4)
B. Phillips has written a wonderful Christmas fantasy story about this amazing cosmic romance to help us escape our superficial, earthbound view of Christmas. In his version, a senior angel is showing a very young angel around the splendours of the universe with its billions of stars. He writes:
As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel whose mind was filled with the glories of what he had just seen.
“I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel. “Well it looks very small and rather dirty to me,” said the little angel. “What’s so special about that one?”
To the little angel, earth did not seem very impressive.
And so, he listened in stunned disbelief as the Senior angel told him that this planet, small and not over clean, was the renowned Visited Planet. “Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince went down in person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why would he do such a thing?”
The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust. “Do you mean to tell me,” he said, “that he stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures on that floating ball?”
“I do, and I don’t think he would like you to call them creeping, crawling creatures in that tone of voice. For strange as it may seem to us, he loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like him.”
The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.”
When, God’s Son, our Saviour was born, a huge choir of angels appeared and sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:14)
It’s as if God can’t help himself, and he shouts into the microphone of the universe, “Hey, I love you guys. I love you all. I’ve just sent my Son into your neighbourhood to show how much I love you. He’s going to be the Saviour of the world!”
“So, come. Look at my love child.” And the shepherds ran to see Jesus. “Come. Adore my love child.” And Matthew tells us the wise men laid their gifts down. “Come. Follow my love child.” And 30 years later Peter, James and John, and the disciples left everything and followed Jesus.
What’s the big deal about Christmas? It’s all about this stunning, cosmic love story. God is head over heels in love with you and me. As Max Lucado says,
“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.”
Blessings for a joyous Christmas season ahead,