by Pastor Jonathan S. Ferriol
The adage, “cometh the moment, cometh the man,” struck me the first time I came across it, while reading a story about leadership weeks ago. It means that before the right man could come, the right moment must come first. This moment could be a crisis, an opportunity, an era whose time has come, or a new dispensation critical to a generation.
Pondering about it, I couldn’t help but identify the wisdom of this principle with Christ Jesus. When the “fullness of time came,” God sent Him to us, Galatians 4:4 says. The time of our salvation came. So Jesus Christ appeared.
Christmas is a defining moment for God. In that day, God showed His best, His most spectacular and His most marvelous work – sending Jesus the Christ – the “darling of heaven,” as one song puts it. In Paul’s words, Jesus Christ is the “mystery of godliness” – the One who was “manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, procliamed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” – 1 Timmothy 3:16.
Yet, Christ Jesus himself had His own share of defining moments – those were the times that the Son of God showed who He truly was, what He really came for here on earth and what He actually did in our behalf. In this regard, I turn to Hebrews 2:14-15, which says,
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
Meditating on these verses, I see the four defining moments of Christ’s birth. Consider:
1. Identification – “…he too shared in their humanity…”
This is the essence of Christmas – God being with us! In Jesus Christ, we understood that our God is not detached or disengaged, as deists believe. No, God wasn’t any of that. The Son of God came and “made His dwelling among us.” He experienced our trials and tribulations, felt our pain, suffered our indignities, cried with our loss, rejoiced in our triumphs and endured the very temptations, we ourselves endure. But ultimately, He alone bore our sins at the cross.
2. Crucifixion – “…so that by his death…”
The death of Jesus was not a homicide nor was it a suicide, as one atheist author believes (duh!). Far from it, His death was actually a martyrdom! He died because He believed in the cause of saving the world. That was the very reason He actually came – Matthew 20:28. But unlike human martyrs (who remained in their graves), Jesus came out the grave and defeated Death at his own game!
3. Destruction – “…he might destroy him who holds the power of death…”
This word doesn’t seem to fit the Christmas lingo. But it actually does! Christ came and was born in a lowly manger. But He didn’t stay a baby nor he stayed in that manger forever. He grew up into adulthood and ultimately, battled with the devil and won against the lord of death. To put it in another way, Christmas was God’s demolition job against darkness! – Colossians 2:14.
4. Liberation – “…and free who all their lives were held in slavery of by their fear of death.”
Christmas wasn’t only about Christ demolishing Satan, but it was also a “search and rescue” operation no less than by the Good Shepherd himself. Thru Christ’s death and resurrection, our Savior saved and liberated us from our greatest and most urgent crisis – death! He died so that we who are dead could live forever. Thus, we share in the conviction of Apostle Paul, himself an emancipated slave of sin, when he wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” – Philippians 1:21.
Any one who wish to understand Christmas, must understand these moments. To miss them, is to miss what Christmas is truly about.