I’ve been reflecting more on the theme of how Christmas seems, all too often, to morph seamlessly into Easter which I started here and which Phil picked up on his blog. It’s not that I have an problem with linking Christmas and Easter, Christ did come to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) or as the song puts it, he was ‘born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth’. It is right and proper that we remember the whole issue of salvation but….
It sometimes seems that we believe Christ came to earth simply to get as many of us as possible into heaven as fast as possible. But I found this thought from Radical Congruency rather intriguing this morning. Thinking about the Lord’s Prayer, in particular the line: “your Kingdom come on earth as in heaven”, Justin writes
When we think of the birth of Jesus, it’s not hard to focus on the heaven aspects of what Christ represents. But we all too easily forget that he mentions heaven not as a contrast to what we’re suffering through now, but as an example of what should be done on earth, in the present.
Jesus did not come simply to get us off this planet and into heaven, but he came to announce the reign of God on the earth – he came to change the world. In Luke 4:18,19 when Jesus speaks about why he came into the world he says:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
These are not some vague spiritualized concepts; Jesus came to make peoples’ physical lives better – to give them health and freedom from tyranny. This is an important aspect of his ministry that we are in danger of overlooking if we only view Christmas as a way of ushering in Calvary. Jesus spent thirty years living on the earth and what happens on the earth is still important to him.