by Troy Martin
We are a people of promise. We celebrate Christmas as the fulfillment of God’s promise, that He kept his paradise promise of sending a Son. Because waiting for the promise takes up two thirds of the Bible (Genesis to Malachi), celebrating that promise includes celebrating the waiting. Advent is a memorial of the promises making, Christmas is a memorial of the promise keeping.
An Adventine Question
So People of Promise, God made a promise to send his Son. So how do we finish this sentence: “The Son of Man came ________________________.” This is an Adventine question. The promise was that he would come, and when he came he did…what?
You might answer with Matthew 18:11 “ The Son of man came to seek and save the lost.” That is a Christmas answer. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6) God’s promise was to gather us to Him. He came for you. Merry Christmas.
You might answer the Matthew 20:28 “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” He drew us near with redemption. We were conned by Satan, incarcerated by our sin, and crused by God. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) He died for you – Merry Christmas.
You might also answer, and I wonder how many would, with Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” Make sure there is a place for this promise in your Christmas thinking. Paradise was known by its food, The fall was a curse on food production, the promises after that were all shaped in terms of eating and drinking: the exodus - a land flowing with milk and honey, the return from exile - a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of wine of the lee. And the end of time is an invitation to recline at a feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
The Christmas Therefore
There are three New Testament finishes to ‘The Son of Man came…” The first two are the Christmas why, the last is the Christmas how. As you celebrate Christmas (and prepare for it in Advent in your homes and souls) make sure to celebrate as the people of promise. Long for Him to seek and save the lost. That’s the Christmas promise. Thank God for the ransom of you and your family, that’s the Christmas merriness. And eat and drink. Fill your table with plates and people, even a few strangers perhaps. That’s the Christmas method.
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.. (Matthew 11:19).