Let’s talk this morning about life.
When Caleb was born, there was an abundance of life. There was screaming and twisting and crying and reaching, and it was joyous.
As he’s grown, there is more abundance—more screaming, more crying, more reaching, more twisting and running. He’s only grown larger and louder over the past year, and there is abundant life within him—he squeals in delight, he claps his hands with exuberance; he races back and forth across our lives. Rachel and I struggle to keep pace with such abundant life. We sit at opposite ends of the hall and watch him work his way back and forth down the hallway, filled with laughter and delight. I do not understand how my soul can be so happy.
It’s amazing to think of the baby Jesus in the same way. Can you picture him as a newborn babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, wriggling in the manger? Can you imagine him, the Savior of the world, racing unsteadily up and down little hallways and out in the dusty field? Can you picture the King of Kings jumping in mud puddles and chasing the chickens nearby, Mary and Joseph shaking their heads as they wonder how they’ll ever keep up with such energy?
Tonight, on Christmas Eve, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the one who took on flesh and dwelt among us, the one who came and moved into the neighborhood. Jesus Christ lived for thirty three years on this earth, and for much of that time he lived and worked and laughed and played just as you and I do. He came, in his own words, that we may have life and have it abundantly. He came to redeem us, to offer us a gift of new life, of new joy and wonder at what God is doing among us.
He came to give us life.
So when we think about Christianity, let’s not forget about life. Let’s not forget that Jesus Christ has come into this world to show us how to live. For thirty three years he lived the perfect life, and he did so with a purpose—to teach us, every one of us, how to live our own lives. He was a model for us, a demonstration of what the Christian life is supposed to be like.
Jesus Christ invites you to welcome him into your life, to survey the landscape of your existence, and to offer it all to him. You work and your play, your laughter and your leisure, is all meant to be offered to him. He wants all of it, so that he can redeem it. We can serve God in our lives, in the living of them. When you go to work, remember that he has redeemed your work. When you enjoy your hobbies or sit down at a good meal, remember that he has redeemed it. He lived among us, worked among us, ate with us and laughed with us, all of it in an effort to show us that life is good. It is a grand gift, meant to be enjoyed! Life isn’t just something to put up with until we get to heaven—it’s something to savor, to relish, and to offer to God. We are most fully alive when we are living with an awareness of God’s redeeming presence among us.
Jesus Christ was born on this earth on Christmas, and for 33 years he lived among us. He did so with purpose—to show us that life is a wonderful thing, meant to be lived to the fullest, offered to God. When we are baptized, we read in Romans, we are joined into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
You don’t have to wait for heaven for your life to begin. Let your life be lived here and now with reckless abandon—let’s allow God to be the Lord of every part of your day. When you work and play, when you laugh and cry, when you eat and when you sleep, do it all for the glory of God. Seek to model Christ’s perfect life with all your heart, and you’ll see that he has redeemed life and offers you abundant life that begins here, at the manger, carries forward through the cross, and onward into eternal life with him.
Christ is born! Christ lives forever! Let our lives give glory to him!
Let us pray.