There is a knock at the door. I wonder who that could be. Perhaps my family is here to visit for a spell. Maybe it is a delivery service bringing that package I ordered. Or perhaps it is a neighbor or a stranger in distress needing my help. I may peer through the side window to catch a glimpse of this visitor, but until I open the door and greet the visitor, I have no idea why someone is visiting me.
I love the Christmas story that has been told in many households through the year. The story about the birth of Jesus. The children gather around to hear this story. Soon they will be telling the story to their children and grandchildren.
It began with Zechariah receiving a visit from Gabriel (Luke 1:5-22). God was about to change the world in a dramatic way. Zechariah and Elizabeth along with Mary and Joseph would be a part of this transformation.
Then Gabriel visited Mary (Luke 1:26-38) announcing that she would soon receive a special gift from God – a gift that would change the world in a way that no one could imagine.
I am sure the inn keeper was not thrilled to hear a strong knock on his door after he had closed for the evening. Most likely, he also wondered who would be visiting at such a late hour, especially since there was no room at the inn. Visitors from all over have taken all available rooms. When he opened the door, his heart was filled with compassion and told the young couple, they could spend the night out back where the animals slept. And that is where Jesus began His visit. A visit that changed the world indeed.
So why did Jesus visit?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:16-21, NIV)
God had been silent for 400 years. I am sure many felt God just gave up on His people and the world. Sin came into the world at the very beginning. The Old Testament is rich in history describing how God moved through out the land working to restore mankind’s the relationship between Him. Nothing worked. It almost seemed as if God failed. No, God did not fail; sin had such deep roots that the people were not willing to receive salvation and restoration from God.
All that changed when Jesus was born on the starry night. The heavenly angels announced the beginning of a visitation from God Himself (Philippians 2:6-7). Jesus came to deliver freedom to all and to teach the world how to be free from the bondage of sin.
To be continued…