Christmas Happened

by Karl Hostetler

The most amazing thing to me is that it happened. It actually happened, and although you couldn't see it at the time, everything changed. It was an ordinary day filled with ordinary people doing ordinary things. Absorbed in the busyness of the moment, consumed with the cares of their lives, unaware that time had become full. It was a day like today, in a year of a census. That day, that amazing day, when God became man, and everything changed.

It was and is the turning point of history. From BC to AD as we count time, but more than that, from Law to Grace, from the old covenant to the new covenant, from darkness to light, from the book, to the man. The word of God became flesh.

It seems a day of that importance would arrive with a herald. It should have been in all the church bulletins at least two weeks ahead of time. It should have been announced, It should have been advertised, but it wasn't. In fact, the first Chrismas Eve, nobody even knew it was Christmas Eve. Well, maybe Mary knew. Imagine that, one day away from the defining moment in all of history, and nobody knew. Although it had been predicted by the scriptures, and proclaimed by the prophets, the years had taken their toll. The idea was not fresh. It was expected by few, forgotten by most, and so it was when it arrived.

Today we stand 2000 years on the other side of that day, and though we have not forgotten, Perhaps time again has dulled our sense of its magnitude. As we look back to that first Christmas, and every Christmas that followed, we can see that it was indeed the turning point of history. And for us in this room, the defining point of our lives. For we are gentiles, excluded from the nation Israel, included in the church of Christ. Because of that day we have been grafted into the Vine. Because of that day we who were in darkness can live in light. So we are right to celebrate. To somehow get beyond the tinsel and the lights and the presents and the rush, and give thanks for the day when God became man.

And as we remember that first Christmas in celebration, we dare not forget that it came. Christmas happened. There was a time before Christmas, and then it came. It is important that we remember that. For there is another day coming, the day of the Lord, when time will once again become full, and Christ will once again come to earth, not as a babe, but as a King. And everything again will change. Just as it was back on that first Christmas Eve, so it will be before the day of the Lord. It will be an ordinary day filled with ordinary people absorbed in the busyness of the moment, consumed with the cares of their lives unaware that time has become full. It will be expected by few, forgotten by most. Perhaps it will even happen in a year of a census, and history, which began in Christ, will end in Christ.

Christmas, for all it is and all it means, is also this: It is our assurance that Christ will come again. Christmas happened.

Listen to the words of Jesus in the final chapter of the Bible describing the final chapter of the world.

(NIV) Rev 22:12-21

12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."

17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.

19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.

Copyright 1999 Karl Hostetler

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Last updated 11/26/16