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Saturday, December 01, 2012

God Came Down

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Christmas—it’s a time for celebration. It’s a time for family and friends. It’s a time for worship. It’s a time for the community to draw closer together. Christmas is so many things. But what is it to you?
It’s easy to miss the spirit of Christmas because we spend so much time chasing after it. Why is that? Each year we go into the Christmas season wanting something more. Something special! Something bigger! I read of a man who wanted to be the first ever to have within his Christmas yard decorations—a life size Santa’s sleigh being pulled by the space shuttle (also life size). And then in a grand display for the whole neighborhood to watch, he fired the shuttle’s engine and burnt down his garage.
It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the trappings of Christmas. But how much time do we really spend considering the reasons why Jesus was born—the reasons why God came down.
The Prophet Micah proclaimed, “Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth.” (Micah 1:3)
“The Lord Came Down” the Bible says often. I wonder what difference it would make in our lives if we could just grasp the magnitude of this concept, that God came down. He came down to my level. He came down to us because we couldn’t reach up to Him. In other words, His coming down was for our benefit.
As I prepare for Christmas this year I have been struck by how many times in the Bible we are told “God came down.” In the creation story God is not just creating from some far off dark distant place, God is right there, intimately involved in the whole process. In the garden, God is the gardener. In the creation of Eve, God is the surgeon.
Then God walks with the man and woman in the cool of the evening. That idea can send the imagination swirling.
Even when Adam and Eve are banished from the garden there is a sense of intimacy in the way God interacts with them. It’s overwhelming to read the words, “And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.” (Gen. 3:21) How amazing to think that even in the act of expulsion, God lovingly stays close enough to cloth them.

The whole Bible is filled with God constantly “coming down” in personal encounters – with Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses to name just a few. And of course, the ultimate coming down of God that we need to pause and acknowledge at this season – the coming down of Christ to dwell in our midst as one of us.
Over and over I am reminded that we do not worship a distant, unconcerned God. We worship a God who is constantly near, a God who is constantly searching for the lost, a God who hears our cries and reaches out to set us free from those things that keep us in bondage.
That is why the angel pronounced, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Jesus is – God with Us! That’s amazing! That’s incredible. And that’s exactly what I needed to hear today. God is with me!
For the month of December, we will examine and ask ourselves, “What does it mean that GOD CAME DOWN?”
[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]


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