In his introduction to The Message, a popular translation of the New Testament, Eugene Peterson made the following observation.
The arrival of Jesus signaled the beginning of a new era. God entered history in a personal way, and made it unmistakably clear that he is on our side, doing everything possible to save us. It was all presented and worked out in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It was, and is, hard to believe—seemingly too good to be true.
But one by one, men and women did believe it, believed Jesus was God alive among them and for them. Soon they would realize that he also lived in them. To their great surprise they found themselves living in a world where God called all the shots—had the first word on everything; had the last word on everything. That meant that everything, quite literally every thing, had to be re-centered, re-imagined, and re-thought.
As we enter into the Christmas season, these words by Peterson are extremely relevant and worthy of sustained reflection. We must resist allowing the consumerist frenzy associated with this season to eclipse the astonishing events that Christmas represents for the Christian. It signals that God did “enter history in a personal way,” demonstrating that God truly is “on our side.” Yet is also reminds us that God’s continued presence means things have changed and that everything must be “re-centered, re-imagined and re-thought.”
During this Christmas season let’s take some time to intentionally reflect on what it means personally to us that God has entered, not only history, but our hearts. What needs to be re-centered or re-thought in our lives? Anything need to be re-imagined? God came to rule in the hearts of women and men—the very domain of His kingdom. May Christmas be a time when we acknowledge His lordship and re-centered our lives around Him. In so doing, we embrace the true gift of Christmas, and re-enter the beginning of a new era for our lives.