Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Saviour Is Born

Human beings everywhere are looking for a deliverer, a saviour. Because God made us, and made us for himself, until we find him we can only wander around in lostness. We're looking for something that's missing - whether we can articulate just what that missing "something" is or not. Some people suppress this sense of missing-ness better than others, but it's a fact of life in all human societies and cultures.

Just how desparate we are once all the image and pretence is stripped away is shown by how quickly each passing bandwagon is jumped upon. A youthful and charismatic politician appears, promising hope and change, and carries all before him. Then he fades, and it's time for the next one. Someone gave my wife some copies of the "Reader's Digest" from early 1997 - featuring an interview with the British prime minister in waiting - who's now old hat and we look for the next anointed deliverer. Politicians, football players, soap stars, musical icons, and so on - we like to believe in someone or something super-human who'll lift us up. Or we might look for it in achievement, or adventure - to "find oneself" in some trip of a life-time, or achieve some life-long goal. Excuse me, I feel a song coming on. "To dream, the impossible dream... to fight, the invincible foe..." Etcetera. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy football and am profoundly grateful for those who take on the immense task of political leadership. They have their place - but that place is not that of a Saviour.

Christmas is good news, because it tells us that this endless, fruitless quest that our nature compels us to pursue, is actually an ended and fruitful one. "A"nother saviour has not been born; the Saviour has. The Saviour to end all Saviours, who breached the gap between man and God when he died for our sins. He fought the invincible foe, overcoming man's true enemy, his sin against God. He lived the life we should have lived, died under the curse we deserved, and rose triumphant to never die again. Jesus came as a true man 2000 years ago to save men. The deep yearnings we have, which spring from our distance from God, are all satisfied in him. A Christian can sit with a level of disinterest when the next political/sporting/musical superstar is lifted up for the public to transfer their worship to. No other name is needed. God himself came in human nature. There's no need this Christmas to yearn to know how to climb your way up to him, because he came down to us. Turkey is nice, playing games and relaxing with the family is better still. But when all the fun of the season has faded once again, it'll not be leaving a gaping hole when we know him.

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