If you drive through the neighborhoods of Santa Rosa, hidden amongst the houses with inflated Santa-men and plastic reindeer, you will find those few houses with a traditional manger scene. Some are simple, just parents and child, while others may be more elaborate with livestock, shepherds, and maybe a few magi thrown in the mix. One in particular, a simple nativity cutout with a soft floodlight to illuminate the white silhouette, sits in my in-law’s yard with a sign that states “A child is born.”
It’s such a simple declaration, and truthfully, this simple message is the reason for this celebration this time of year. However, there is a risk in the nativity being the echoing image of this season. The risk is an incomplete picture; just a tease at the whole.
In Luke 2:36-38, we see someone who has a bigger perspective of the Christ-child. This child meant redemption. This child’s name was Jesus, which means Yahweh Saves. When Joseph and Mary came to present and offer their firstborn to the Lord at the temple, as they were supposed to do as faithful Jews, they are met with the prophetess Anna. When this prophetess saw the child, she came up to them and began rejoicing. Why? Because this child was the redemption of Jerusalem.
This Christmas as we remember the child, remember his name: Salvation. He did not come to be a baby. He came to grow up and bring salvation to his people, to Jerusalem, and to the estranged Gentiles. He was on a mission. Remember that this salvation brings the Resurrection. Celebrate the victory of the mission, not only its beginning. Don’t just worship the child, but worship the man. The man who brings salvation and offers it to all mankind.
For the sake of His name,