Love Came Down
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. — Luke 2:11
As more and more Christmases come and go, I am amazed at the progression of what the holiday means to me. I will be celebrating my 37th Christmas this year. When I was young, Christmas was all about the presents. My birthday was perfectly placed at June 24th. Thus, the two dates were perfectly spaced apart so that I received pretty much all the stuff that I asked for every six months. Christmas was just another birthday, for ME, not for Christ the Lord.
As I hit my twenties, it was still mostly about the presents. My mom and dad always hooked me up with cool stuff. Between my parents and the rest of the family, I always racked up lots of stuff and lots of cash. However, I started to like going to church around this time. I liked the church being full of poinsettias that people bought in honor of loved ones that had gone on to be with the Lord. I liked hearing about God becoming a baby. I liked hearing that love came down at Christmas. The season began to take on a whole new meaning.
Looking back, I feel like I kept Jesus a baby for far too long. I mean, if He is just a baby, there is certainly no reason to think your life should change. You don’t really have to follow a baby. It is interesting that we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. How do you fear a baby? The majority of the people that drive around our neighborhood at Christmas only see the Lord wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger…a baby. As long as I saw Him this way, I really had no motivation to live holy. I had no thought of actually changing my ways. Though I appreciated the story of Jesus, I could still live pretty much any way that I wanted. What was the little baby going to do to me? Maybe this is why Ricky Bobby only prays to “baby Jesus.”
Somewhere in my twenties, sin stopped being fun. The Bible says that there is pleasure in sin, but it only lasts for a season. I am so thankful that God allowed my season to start running out. Partying and sleeping around just started to lose its shininess. Just as Jesus began to grow up…I did too. Somehow, I started taking notice at Easter. It wasn’t about bunnies and baskets anymore, it was about the cross. I started listening to the preachers at church. I made the connection that the baby in the manger grew up to be the Savior on the cross. He came to live a sinless life, and die the brutal death of crucifixion on the cross. The only thing I couldn’t really figure out was…why?
Now that I am in my thirties, I am so thankful for my understanding of Jesus and just how awesome He Is. I understand Isaiah 53:5. “He was pierced for my transgression“…He was wounded outwardly for my outward sin. All of my foul mouthing, all of my sexual immorality, all of the sins that could be outwardly seen were covered by the outward wounds that my Lord took for me. “He was bruised for my iniquity“…iniquity is the sin that was in me when I was born. It was my inclination to cheat when I didn’t know the answer. It was my inclination to lie when it would get me out of trouble or make me look good. It was all of the sin that was inside of me that I didn’t want anybody to know about. Jesus was bruised, meaning that He bled inwardly for those types of inward sins. “By His stripes, I am healed.”
Thirty-six years of living seems like a long time…then again, it doesn’t. Twenty years of being a Christian seems like a long time…then again, it doesn’t. I do know this; because of Christ, I have peace in my heart. Caroline keeps asking me what I want for Christmas. I am going to have to come up with something to tell her. She is just like I was…all about the presents. I remember the time that I could easily rattle off about 20 things that I wanted. Now, I can honestly say that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Then again, I want to spend time with Him 366 days next year (since it is a leap year). I want to be the best husband I can be to Tonya. I want to learn to love her more like Christ loves me. I want to be the best daddy that I can to Caroline and J’man. I want to do my job as unto the Lord and show as many students as I can what He is like and what it looks like to truly follow Him. I want to grow in the Lord for the rest of my days. I want His Hand to be with me…to keep me from evil. I want the purest heart possible. I want to look back at my 30’s when I’m in my 40’s and see that God has changed me even more into His likeness.
And to think…it wouldn’t even be possible if Love hadn’t come down at Christmas.