The Real Beginning – Greg Albrecht

It’s here! The end of another year. What a year this has been! The grumps, the curmudgeons, the gloom and doom prognosticators, the fear mongers and the Jeremiad prophecy buffs have been selling their wares.

Thankfully, the vast majority of the party poopers who scream and shout within Christendom agree on one thing—only Jesus Christ can clean up this mess!
It does take Jesus, doesn’t it? As we end a year of endless varieties of Christ-less promotion and hype in his name, it might be helpful to compare and contrast the understated way the good news first came into our world. Jesus’ birth passed with little fanfare. Books about his first coming did not dominate the Christian best-seller lists in first-century Judea. The vast majority of humanity had no idea that God had entered time and space. Did it happen that way because God didn’t have the phone number of a good public relations firm? Or did God, in the person of Jesus, prefer a low-key arrival?
God has a way of bringing good news into our corrupted world, when it seems like all is lost. I have always been fond of the way cartoonist H.T. Webster celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. In 1909, Webster depicted this anniversary by re-creating events surrounding Lincoln’s birth.

The two central figures of his graphic commentary were two Kentucky woodsmen meeting on a snow-covered wilderness path. It was a time long before CNN, cell phones, email and satellite communications. The two woodsmen met on the trail and exchanged news of the swearing in of the new American president, James Madison. They debated about how much of Europe would eventually be conquered by a man named Napoleon Bonaparte.

Finally, after covering global and national news, they discussed what was happening locally. One of the men mentioned that a baby boy had been born at Tom Lincoln’s house. With that, they ended their conversation and went their separate ways, agreeing that nothing of any consequence happened in their corner of the world.

Ever noticed how God starts with things that are of little consequence to humans? He simply started out as a slightly wrinkled, brand new baby—a small part of what it means to be “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3).

Joseph and Mary, expecting her first baby, had just arrived in Bethlehem, and they had no place to stay. They were strangers in town, and they finally settled for an animal shelter. It was there that the King of kings and Lord of lords entered our world.

There wasn’t much good news in Bethlehem about that time. Taxation was high, the land was occupied by the Romans and times were tough. But God chose this exact time in human history to be born as a baby so that he might bring us good news.

Christmas is an annual celebration when God once again levels the playing field by inviting us to wonder and consider his glory and his grace. Let’s put our pursuits and interests aside and ponder where and when it all started. Amidst all of the predictive hoopla of his second coming, you won’t want to miss the fact of his first coming.

Please share:
Share by Email