Indispensable

Christmas reminds us that Jesus is utterly indispensable to the purposes of God in the world. No one could have replaced him in his mission to Planet Earth.

In the words of an apostle, Jesus let us see things about God’s heart, character, and activity we had never quite been clear about before. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God,” says Paul (Colossians 1:15 NLT). Who would have guessed, for example, that God would touch lepers, eat meals with prostitutes and shady businessmen, and be such a headache to religion scholars!

Jesus is the one who knows the Father best. He understands everything about him. He bears true witness to him in everything.

So at the very heart of Christmas is the fact that it celebrates Jesus as the one who has made God known to us. The Almighty God who was, is, and always will be has come in human form. By stepping down to our frailty, he has lifted us up to his intimate relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit.

At Christmas, believers rejoice that a full-fledged member of the God who is Trinity – not three gods but three persons who are fully and equally divine – has come to live in human community that we humans may live in divine community.

Jesus is indispensable. He did what no other person has done. He gave what no other person has had to offer. And what he revealed lets us know that each of us is indispensable to God as well.

Does the theology you know best berate you? Maximize your sense of guilt and unworthiness? Stress the great divide between you and God? Does your personal faith major in shame? Make you feel loathsome to God? If so, you need to rethink some things in light of the experience of Christmas.

Biblical theology begins in God’s love, not your mess. Personal faith is granted so that we may grasp rescue and hope, not grovel in shame and self-loathing. Christmas says so by virtue of a frightened girl and confused man, smelly shepherds and learned Magi.

Christmas proclaims that God cares so incredibly that he has taken the initiative with us. When he came, he came to both genders, to all races, and to people of every social and economic caste. Nobody is worthless or expendable. Not in God’s eyes.

If all this is true, then you are indispensable too! The indispensable Christ came to tell you that you are infinitely valuable and unfathomably loved by the God who sees you as indispensable. The love he has for you cannot be given to anyone else, and the purpose he has for you cannot be filled by anyone else.

May a renewed awareness of this truth be God’s gift to you in this holy season.

Reprinted from Rubel Shelly’s Fax of Life.

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