Every year, as we enter the Christmas season, I take time to reflect back on all the events surrounding the birth of the Christ child, and every year I am struck by something different. Maybe it’s the humble shepherds in the field, maybe it’s the message heralded by the angels, or perhaps it’s the brilliant star hanging in the night sky, but something in that wonderful story will grab my attention and will be the lens through which I view all my Christmas celebrations. This year, that lens came not from Matthew or Luke or even Isaiah, but from Paul’s letter to the believers at Colossae.
You won’t find the manger, or the beleaguered parents, or the sheep grazing nearby in that letter. You won’t read about magi traveling through the desert night, bearing wondrous gifts for a newborn baby. You won’t see angels filling the evening sky with glorious melodies never heard before by human ear. And yet, here in this simple, short letter to the church, Paul gives us perhaps one of the most beautiful Christmas descriptions found in the entirety of Scripture.
Imagine being there that night. Imagine looking around the corner of that outdoor structure and seeing the tiny, helpless infant lying there in the feeding trough; his weary mother sitting nearby on the ground, dirt and straw littering the area where she, his father, and the animals try to rest. And as you take in this humble scene, and your eyes rest upon the baby wrapped in linen rags, imagine you hear these words:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross—whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col. 1.15-20).
That baby, that little infant, is the Firstborn Over All Creation! The entire universe was created by Him and for Him! He holds pre-eminence over everything and as the agent of creation all authority rests upon Him in heaven and on earth! He may not look like it, lying there in the manger, but He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Not only is this child Lord over all creation, but through His death, burial, and resurrection, He is now and forever the hope of all mankind, the means by which we gain reconciliation with our God, and the source of true peace!
When we consider all this greatness wrapped up in a helpless, human package, it should give us pause. How much our God must truly love us, that He would come to us in this way. How much He cares for you and I that He would live among us, and suffer a cruel death at our hands. How much must He desire a relationship with us that He would give us the means for eternal life with Him, by conquering the one enemy we could not defeat: death. This is why we should celebrate this season. This is why we should sing songs, and share Christmas cheer with those around us. This is why we should decorate our homes with bright lights and colored glass. This is why we should give gifts to our loved ones--because on a night long ago, in a small stable, the Firstborn Over All Creation was given to us. His name is Jesus and we should worship Him!
NEWS AND NOTES:
Christmas Plugged – Our synchronized Christmas light show runs each evening from 5:00-Midnight, and will go through the first week in January. This year’s show is about 35 min in length and takes p
lace in three parts. Watch a single part or stay for the whole show, but either way share it with someone you know, and consider joining us on Fridays and Saturdays in December leading up to Christmas for free hot chocolate, cider, and goodies from 6:30-8:30 pm.
Christmas Unplugged – Our annual candle-lit, acoustic Christmas concert will be held on Sunday, December 17th at 6:00 pm. You’ll hear old favorites as well as beautiful, new songs, and you’ll be invited to worship with us as young and old sing together of the Greatest Gift.
Preschool Christmas Program – Sunday, December 10th at 5:00 pm – Join us as our Rose of Sharon Preschoolers share with us songs, poems, and lots of Christmas energy. Come early as seats will fill fast for this not-to-be-missed event.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion – Sunday, December 24th at 5:00 pm – Make this special service of reflection and fellowship part of your family Christmas celebrations as we gather together to worship the One who came to save us.
Many of you have served and will serve in multiple capacities this Christmas season. We want to offer a word of thanks for all you do to make this time of celebration so special at Rose of Sharon Baptist.
May each of you have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!
In His Service,