Merry Christmas 2015

Jesus is rightfully the focus of our attention at Christmas time. After all he is God incarnate (i.e. God taking on a human body so that we can connect more easily with Him). We call Jesus “God’s Son” to assure our understanding of the connection between God and Jesus (and ultimately our own connection with God through connection with Jesus). If you’re familiar with the Gospels, however, you’ll note that Jesus generally referred to himself as “the Son of Man”. This term originated in a vision of the Old Testament prophet Daniel

which is related in Daniel 7:13-14.
13 As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a Son of Man (human being)
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
14 To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed.

As you can see, this “Son of Man” is to be honored and served, and this identity shall last forever. The connection between God and humans which began at the time of the Creation was broken by human arrogance and self-seeking. And just like every criminal receives a penalty from a judge, and the penalty usually involves some kind of separation…from society, other humans and normal living, and the separation cannot be ended until the penalty has been completely fulfilled – so too, separation from God is the penalty that is caused by self-absorbed human qualities and behaviors, and that separation between humans and God cannot be ended until the penalty has been completely fulfilled. The New Testament tells us that Jesus’ undeserved death is accepted by God as the fulfillment of the penalty for everyone who (1) asks God to allow Jesus’ death to count as fulfillment of their own penalty, and (2) begins (with the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit) to give up their self-absorbed human qualities and to reshape their life according to the teachings and example of Jesus. So, Merry Christmas AND don’t fail to ask God to allow Jesus’ death to count as fulfillment of your penalty.