I get sappy at Christmas.

I’ve always wondered if it’s the warmth of the season, the schmaltzy music, and the cheesy Hallmark movies that make me sappy, or if I’m really this sappy all the time and just cover it up the other eleven months of the year. I believe it’s probably the latter.

I tear up a lot more at Christmas (pass the tissues, please). I think the older I get, the more I realize just how much I need a Savior. It’s not that I didn’t believe that before, but I think we have to live long enough to experience the futility of “the self” before we can really feel our need for Jesus. That’s why Christmas means so much more to me now that I’ve got a few more decades under my belt. I know just how lost I am without Him.

The Barrier

When God came to earth as a baby, it fulfilled thousand of years of prophecy of the coming Messiah. To find the last time God physically walked with man we have to go all the way back to Genesis Chapter 3. Sin didn’t just bring “bad things” into the world, it created a barrier between God and man.

Sin separated us from the presence of God we were created to walk and live and dwell in. Sin doesn’t just make us prone to bad behavior, apart from God’s presence we are not even fully alive. We are not as we were created to be.

Between the Garden and the Christmas story, God’s presence was at best veiled. First, it was the tabernacle – the temporary structure – where God’s presence rested with the Ark of the Covenant behind a large curtain. Centuries later, the temple became permanent, but the separation remained the same. Because of sin, God’s presence could no longer dwell with mankind.

Where sin is present, God’s holiness cannot be.

The Messiah

That’s why the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior, is so overwhelming! Emmanuel means “God is with us.” In the form of a tiny baby, in a way no human being could ever have dreamed up, God was making His move toward mankind! Where sin created an uncrossable cavern, Jesus was God’s way of doing for us what we could never do for ourselves.

God came for us! This is the story of Christmas!

But we’re not done there. When Jesus died on the cross, the Bible tells us the great temple veil was torn. That in that horrifically beautiful moment, Jesus – Emmanuel – fixed the “presence” problem that mankind had been carrying since the serpent seduced Adam and Eve. The separation was gone.

Emmanuel

Jesus, God with us, made a way for God’s presence to now reside in us through the Holy Spirit. And then in one final, glorious chapter yet to be written, Christ will come again and resurrect all things to their original intent – God and mankind dwelling together just as He designed us to be.

This is the great narrative of God in which Christmas finds its beautiful chapter, and it’s the story in which we find our own – our lives, our family, our relationships, even our work. 

God truly is with us. Emmanuel. He came for us! And He is redeeming His creation to Himself. It’s okay if that makes you a little weepy, too.

Merry Christmas from The Stone Table.