“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!—Luke 1:46-47
When we read about the birth of Jesus, we can’t help but notice it paints a very different picture. All our misled merriment of the season, through Christmas plays, carols and presents under the tree, makes us miss the mark. When God squeezes his almighty awesomeness into human flesh and comes to live among us, it’s not to make us feel good about our world and ourselves, but to change our world and everyone who lives in it. That said, the story goes beyond the manger.
We find barren women and unmarried teenagers getting pregnant and singing together of God’s great goodness. We find foreign astrologers following a star traveling hundreds of miles in search of a special child. We hear of a king whose fear of losing power is so great that he won’t lose sleep over killing all the innocent children. Once we look at the true picture presented in the Bible, the “merry” in Christmas gets “scary” really fast.
Then of course we remember that the greatest story ever told has only just begun. It starts us with a tiny taste of things to come. We begin to see a preview of the life-transforming work Jesus will do in this world. People who were cast out of the community are brought back into Christ. The lowly nobodies suddenly become somebodies in the story. Through his grace, God calls people beyond the borders of their nation, religion, and position. And there are desperate people who will do anything to hold on to their positions in life by hanging on to their pride, power and possessions, even in the face of God in Christ who walked among them.