As we navigate our way through Christmas 2020 and start to look forward to a new year, hopefully returning to “normal” at some point, I’m looking back at these last few bizarre months. Everything was complicated yet it wasn’t. Stay home was simple but then illness struck and things got complex. The theory of online learning seemed manageable but things got confusing for everyone quite quickly. Only go out for essentials seems logical until there’s a birthday, graduation, or anniversary. And what is essential to you may not be essential to me. This is the entangled web that was 2020 and as far as I can tell will bleed into 2021. Not such good news, is it?
But Christmas reminds us that good news abounds! And it is for everyone.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
Luke 2:10-14 NIV (emphasis mine)
A saviour was born for all of us. Every single person in the world. No one is left out. And that Saviour, Jesus, is not complicated. Take a minute to examine his birth. He was born in a barn and laid in a feed trough. That’s about as minimalist as it gets.
He was put in swaddling clothes not some fussy designer baby doll outfit. Jesus entered this world quietly, out of the limelight that most babes are born into these days with relatives gathering and cameras filming.
Rumours swirled about his conception and his parents, but Mary and Joseph didn’t let that stop them from believing God’s plan—to send his son to save the world. Mary and Joseph looked past their smeared reputations and no vacancy sign in Bethlehem, keeping their focus on God. It simplifies things when we do that, doesn’t it? Suddenly the burden lifts. We don’t have to be in control.
The angels had to tell the shepherds to go find him. The lowliest people on the societal rung, who brought nothing but themselves, were sought out by the angels. The first to hear the good news. And they came and worshipped. Simple. Uncomplicated.
Jesus’ birth was just the beginning. His gift of salvation, love, and grace is offered with no strings or conditions. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
The only thing we have to do is receive him yet we make it a complex affair. We doubt we’re good enough. We tell ourselves we have to get ourselves together before we can accept his love. We need to do good works before we’ll be accepted. The truth is Jesus waits for us as we are—in our filth, in our sin, in our pride. He offers us his gift. All we have to do is reach out and take it. Simple.
Uncomplicated. His love, his gift of salvation, his presence. They’re the only things we need to take with us into a new, uncertain, and surely complicated, new year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe, New Year