As this Christmas approached I was having trouble understanding why I should celebrate Jesus’s birth. The work of redemption that began with his arrival is so far from completion, the brokenness in the world still so strong, that Jesus’s birth started to seem like a non-event. The beginning of something that would one day be meaningful, but right now made no real difference.
During Christmas Eve service I began to understand. My favourite Christmas carol, O Holy Night, was being sung and one line stood out to me: Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.
The soul felt it’s worth.
Yes the world is broken, yes we are wounded, yes we long for mercy... But we have worth. So much worth that God sent his Son to start the work of redemption, so that one day the world will be whole and healed and full of joy.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
Jesus will be a sign to you. A sign that one day “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev 21:4). A sign that we are precious to Him. A sign that God is here with us.
But now we wait, a painful anticipation, a longing for the day when things are made right. Until then, we can celebrate Christmas, the sign that was given, the symbol of our worth, the hope of redemption.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.