On Christmas Eve, I mentioned that whenever you're ready to come to the manger, Christ is there waiting for you. This week, we've been talking about the admonition in the New Testament that because of His coming, we no longer have to trace our way back to Him, no longer have to prove our qualifications, and yet...we still do. Not only do we still do this ourselves, but it continues to be one of the selling points of our Christianity - that no matter where you are right now, there is a way for you to make a path to God.
And here's the T-shirt and bumper sticker to prove it, lest anyone should doubt you.
But do you realize how it would change our Christianity if we actually listened to what the New Testament has to say? If we actually heard what Hebrews was telling us? If we listened to what Paul says over and over and over again about how every single qualification of the flesh is meaningless in the shadow of the Cross?
Can you imagine what it would be like to have a Road to Emmaus experience with every single lost individual we ever spoke with, where we are just talking along the way and BAM! Jesus shows up and walks with us? Can you imagine what it would be like if your starting point was "Christ is come" rather than "Christ is just over there, all it takes is a little..." whatever?
If the first thing a seeker ever sees is a baby in a manger, that's the way God wanted it. If the first thing they see is a stranger on the road, that's the way God wanted it. If the first thing they witness is a guy frying fish on the seashore and calling to them, that's the way God wanted it. What God most wants for His people - for all people - is for Christ to be come and for that to be first in our faith.
That's the starting point of everything. That's the foundation of this whole thing. If it's not, the Cross of Christ is worthless. If we still have to carry that Cross to Golgotha, it's pointless. If we are the ones crossing the sea of Galilee because we heard about a thing that's happening over there, we're losing the battle.
The beautiful truth of grace and love is that something is happening in Galilee. Period. Christ. is. come.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again here - the one person most of us would be most surprised to see show up in our churches...is Jesus Himself. That's how far we believe He is from us. That's how deeply we have failed to grasp the concept of the incarnation - the concept, the promise, the hope, the goodness, the gift of the incarnation. We don't expect Jesus to be here. We don't notice that He is. We don't think that He would be.
Then what in the world was Christmas all about?
This is just something I want you to think about. It's something I'm thinking about. What if we just started with "Christ is come"? What if we just started with "Jesus is here"? What if we just took that for granted and let that be the foundation of everything we are and everything we do and everything we think and write and offer into this world?
How would it change your faith if it started with Christ right here?