Christmas is the story about the birth of a child born to a peasant girl in a small backwater village called Bethlehem. It never made the front page of the Bethlehem Gazette or the Jerusalem Herald. It didn’t even make the birth announcements. In fact, no one knew about it except His mother and father and few shepherds working the night shift. But the birth of this child would forever change the course of human events.
What does God’s appearance in the form of a helpless human baby tell us about God? For the answer, let’s look in Luke 2:10-14, where the angels said:
- “Do not be afraid” – an invitation to come to God without fear.
- “I bring you good news of great joy” – a message of good news that brings great joy, not bad news that shames and condemns.
- “A Savior has been born” – an assurance of salvation not condemnation.
- “Peace to men on whom His favor rests” – announcement of peace and favor, not a message that God is angry and upset with us.
When Jesus was born, the concept of a God who invites us to get close to Him was unheard of. To the Jews, God was supremely powerful and unapproachably holy. The Jewish elaborate system of rituals and sacrifices clearly communicated that you didn’t dare get too close to God. To the Greeks, God was supremely detached and uninvolved in the affairs of men. Greek gods were distant and unpredictable. You did your best to stay out of their way, appease them and try to keep them happy.
However, the infant Jesus was God’s invitation to draw near to God without fear. It demonstrates the desire of God’s heart to enter into a personal relationship with each of us through Jesus Christ. The starting point of faith is not keeping the rules, believing the right creeds or learning principles about God. The starting point of faith is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ—a relationship based on love, not law. It is not a message about keeping the rules and trying harder, or about relating to God on the basis of our religious performance.
The King of the universe enters into human history in a little bundle, wrapped in obscurity and poverty and humility—because that is the signature of Jesus. There is no place Jesus won’t go, there is nothing He won’t do, there are no depths to which He will not descend, in order to bring God’s power, God’s love, and God’s grace to us, the people He loves and favors.
Now that’s good news!