Luke 2:4-7 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Ready or not here I come! Advent has come to an end, for 4 weeks we were encouraged to remember what Christmas is all about, reminded that it is coming quickly, and encouraged to get ready. Did you get the baking done, did the cards get sent, did the presents all get wrapped? Funny thing, as important as we think those things are, its not the stuff of Christmas - where's Christ? Well, there was decorating the tree, the wreath for the door, and the lights - again, as important as we think those things are, its not the real stuff of Christmas - where's Christ? Of course, itís the presents under the tree, the ones that weren't there when we went to bed - surely that's what matters most - but once again, where's Christ?
We've made the getting ready into something we do to deserve what comes next, and what comes next is what we want. Its as though we think we can earn or deserve Christmas by being good, as though it really is about who's naughty and who's nice. But that's not what Christmas is about, where's Christ?
What's all this stuff about? Its as though we'd heard the Christmas story so much, that we thought its point was that we should not be like Bethlehem, or Herod, or all the people of Judea - all the people who weren't ready for Christmas. Sure, there was a lot that certainly wasn't the best we had to offer, and there was not much of a reception - and all these things are interesting, but its Christmas, so the real question, the only one that is really important is - where's Christ?
Christ is born, the Son of God became man, and was born and they laid him in a manger. That's what's important. God sent his son, even though no one was ready, or prepared - God sent his son, because it was time that the world should have a Savior. God didn't send a savior because we were ready, or because we were prepared, or because we were worth, or because we had earned one - God send his son to be our savior because we needed a Savior, and God had promised that he would send us one. God sent us a Savior because God is gracious, merciful and loving. God sent a Savior so that the savior might reconcile the world to God. The world needed a Savior, because sin had separated everyone from God, and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't make peace with God, or pay the debt of our own sins.
How much does God love us? Enough that it didn't matter that we weren't ready, prepared or worthy. God loved us enough so that he could come even though there was no room in the inn, even though his bed would be in a manger - God came because the mercy we needed, the forgiveness of our sins, just couldn't wait any longer.
And that's why there is a Christmas peace. Not because of the lights or the decoration, not because of the food or the presents - but because of Christ, our Savior, who takes away our sins, who reconciles us to God - who gives us peace with God, that enables us to find peace with our neighbor. Christmas comes because Christ came, ready or not, and had mercy on all of us poor miserable sinners - we rejoice in God's great mercy and love - that's the Christ that makes for Christmas.