Give All that You Are
Christmas! As the familiar song goes, "it's the most wonderful time of the year!" And it's true.. How pleasant it is to get together with family and friends; give gifts; share a wonderful meal with loved ones; and hopefully slow down a bit from the normal hectic schedule. Some families, remembering the unfortunate, make it a point to help serve meals at a homeless shelter or do other charitable work. Some, remembering that Christmas is about Christ, will attend a church candlelight service on Christmas Eve, or go out in groups dressed in Victorian Era clothes and sing Christmas Carols about Mary, Joseph, the manger, oxen and cattle, the three wise men, the angels singing in the heavens, the shepherds tending their flocks at night... And a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, born in a manger, whose name was Jesus. All of these things are so familiar to us as living in this country. And all of these things are indeed truly wonderful and good.
But do we really stop to think and ponder what happened when Jesus was born?
The passage chosen for today's reflection tells us that Christmas is something so utterly profound it should stop us dead in our tracks and bring us to worship our incomparably good and kind God in utter awe and amazement. At first glance you might think, however: "I don't see any reference to Christmas anywhere in this passage. What does Colossians 1:15-23 have to do with Christmas?"
Only everything. The problem, once you make the connection isn't seeing how it relates. The problem is wrapping your mind around it and even beginning to come to terms with this unprecedented benevolent act of a Holy, Holy, Holy God who, should we see Him in His Glory at this very moment, would utterly consume us.
'This God became a baby!? Seriously!?' 'Yes.'
'Really? No other god according to the religions of the world would do such a thing!'
'No, they wouldn't, but ours did. Yes, He really did put on flesh and become a baby.. But...'
'But He didn't stay there.'
One day Philip asked Jesus to "Show us the Father.." What did Jesus answer? "If you have seen me you have seen the Father.." He is all of the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. How is it possible that an infinite, all powerful God could, or even would, confine Himself in the body of a man, let alone to the point of being born as a baby?
But wait.. There's more..
He also created everything, for Himself.. And He didn't just wind up creation like a clock and let it go.. He actually holds everything together.. In other words, should He stop being the Creator God for even a moment, you, me and everything we see would immediately vaporize, fly apart, disappear.
So, you belong to Him. You need never ever feel unwanted or unloved or unneeded again.. God Himself is holding you together.
But it gets better still. If He just created the world, held it together but let it go its own way that wouldn't do us much good, would it? No.
For it was the Father's good pleasure[, not only] for all the fullness [of God] to dwell in Him, [but also] through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
So Jesus was not only the image of the Father to us, but the Father sent Jesus on a rescue mission.. To save you and so that you can have peace with him.
What do you mean when you talk about peace here?
Well, you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds. Basically, you were God's enemy. The peace mentioned above isn't referring to a warm, fuzzy feeling. It's more like having your case dismissed in court. In other words, you were in God's crosshairs and God was going to destroy you, but because of Jesus, you are no longer guilty.
'Don't I have to do anything?'
No. It was all already paid for. Don't think it was cheap. It cost Jesus plenty. It cost Him death on a cross. He paid your bill. He served your sentence. He took the punishment for your crimes against God. Why? Because He loved you.. And if you were to try to pay for them yourself, it would cost you eternity and you would still never have it all paid.
Not only that, but if you accept His payment for your sins, one day, He Himself will present you before the Father, holy and blameless and beyond reproach.
Imagine this.. "Father, I present to you Mark. I died for all of his sins. He belongs to me, therefore he belongs to You."
Aren't you glad Jesus didn't stay a baby in a manger?
"So, as you sing the great hymns of Christmas (no, not Rudolph...) such as "O come, all Ye Faithful".. Contemplate that this baby that we commonly see in the imagery of Christmas is a baby no more, but a Reigning King. One who is "The Image of the Invisible God", and "All of the Fullness Dwells in Him. He is your Creator. He is your Redeemer.
He gave all of Himself for you and to you. Give all that you are back to Him.
Colossians 1:15-23 The Preeminence of Christ
"O Come All Ye Faithful" - Tasha Cobbs