“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…”
(Galatians 4:4 ESV)
Journalist, Presbyterian minister, and chronicler for Billy Graham, Sherwood Wirt, once wrote the following in a Christmas card:
The people of that time were being heavily taxed, and faced every prospect of a sharp increase to cover expanding military expenses. The threat of world domination by a cruel, ungodly, power-intoxicated band of men was ever just below the threshold of consciousness. Moral deterioration had corrupted the upper levels of society and was moving rapidly into the broad base of the populace. Intense nationalistic feeling was clashing openly with new and sinister forms of imperialism. Conformity was the spirit of the age. Government handouts were being used with increasing lavishness to keep the population from rising up and throwing out the leaders. External religious observances were considered a political asset, and abnormal emphasis was being placed upon sports and athletic competition. Racial tensions were at the breaking point. In such a time, and amid such a people, a child was born to a migrant couple who had just signed up for a fresh round of taxation, and who were soon to become political exiles. And the child who was born was called, among others things, Emmanuel, God with us.
Doesn’t that sound like it could be written for us today? We sing the songs in Advent like O Come, O Come Emmanuel, with its haunting plea:
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear.
O Come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by thine advent here;
and drive away the shades of night, and pierce the clouds and bring us light!
We sing the songs, but is that all it is; a song? We may be 2,000 years removed from the story, but have we really changed all that much. Our fears are the same, the corruption is as rampant. We still long for meaning and hope in life. How desperately do we need our Savior to come into our lives. The song is the prayer that we don’t even know our heart is singing.
For a time just like ours, and for a people just like us, a child was born, a child who is called Emmanuel, God with us, Christ our Lord, Jesus, the light of the world, who has saved us from our sins!
May your Christmas be filled with the presence of the living Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, and may your joy be complete in Him!