To borrow a phrase: Behold, I bring glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people: The cure is here! The coronavirus vaccine is at hand. Shipments are arriving and the first who need to be inoculated are getting what they need to live. The darkness of this pandemic is beginning to lift. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
By getting this vaccine into our bodies, we can reclaim our lives. We can begin to live like we are supposed to live.
Maybe we, who have endured this pandemic, are in a unique position to better understand why Christmas is such a big deal.
Simply put, Christmas is the arrival of the cure. The advent of the God-Man Jesus is the physical, bodily introduction of what we need to live. Jesus brings life. His birth means God is with us. His ministry shows us how to live. His death absorbs the disease that was killing us and defeats the evil that was oppressing us. His resurrection displaces the dark powers of sin and death, paving the way for Christ’s reign so we can live.
Without Christ, the human condition was one of separation from God. We were bound by the hellish ways of selfishness, vengeance, and death. However: by grace in Christ, the human condition has been transformed from separation to reconciliation. History has been rerouted and humanity has been reconstituted for redemptive participation in Christ’s saving work. We are saved – liberated – to partake and pursue the heavenly ways of selflessness, compassion, and life. Our curse has been reversed and our fatal course has been re-charted toward a new horizon of hope. All of those world-changing realities; all of that mighty redemption began with a humble birth.
They say that the coronavirus most likely came from bats, which we got because we invaded their territory. The Bible says that the Christ cure came because he came to us. He invaded our territory – and the beachhead was Bethlehem.
Jesus’ birth — his advent – changed everything. We were separated from God, but by standing with us, our place is no longer separate from God because Jesus is God. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.
But how can one life do all that? Defeat evil, restore freedom, and bring peace? Well, when the U.S. fought Nazi Germany, every American did not go to war. We sent 16 million Americans to fight for us, and thanks to their sacrifice, that tyranny was defeated. They did what we could not do – and their actions changed the course of history for us all.
The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ did what we cannot do and his actions changed the course of history for us all.
I’ve read that 25% of Americans don’t want to be inoculated against the coronavirus. I guess that is understandable since so many don’t want the salvation God offers us in Christ.
After all, Bethlehem’s Child brings a cure that is hard for many to swallow: Forgive seventy times seven. Love your enemies. Pray for those who abuse you. Turn the other cheek. Sell your possessions and share with the poor. Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, tend the sick, visit prisoners, welcome strangers. Love everyone as I love you.
That cure is seen by some as pure foolishness. But others see in it a deep wisdom that brings not only life, but deep joy and genuine hope to a broken world that is mortally ill and in desperate need of salvation.
What do you see when you look at the Christ Child? It takes a lifetime to truly understand and fully welcome the gift that God gives us. But Bethlehem’s Child truly is our salvation; the vaccination that ends the pandemic; and the inoculation that spares us from death and frees us to live.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait in line for this cure. The cure is here. It is available to you right now. You don’t have to pay for it. The price has already been paid. All you need to do is receive it by welcoming Christ’s saving life into your life. Let the antibodies of Christ’s way, truth, and life change your life for good. Let his heavenly antidote into your heart and you shall live.
This glorious, open secret is so big that it is easy to miss. But for humble shepherds and traveling wise men and even for hopeless sinners like you and me, a shining star still points the way. Let us embrace that way. Let us receive our Savior. Let us rejoice that Christ has come to save us all.