We are almost there. We have seen God in many forms, but have yet to see him as the most intimate form that there is.
The prophet Isaiah looked forward to a child who would be our son, and also our ruler. In chapter 9:2-7 he writes:
“Those who walked in the dark have seen a bright light.
And it shines upon everyone who lives in the land of darkest shadows.
Our LORD, you have made your nation stronger.
Because of you, its people are glad and celebrate like workers at harvest time or like soldiers dividing up what they have taken.
You have broken the power of those who abused and enslaved your people.
You have rescued them just as you saved your people from Midian.
The boots of marching warriors and the blood-stained uniforms have been fed to flames and eaten by fire.
A child has been born for us.
We have been given a son who will be our ruler.
His names will be Wonderful Advisor and Mighty God,
Eternal Father and Prince of Peace.
His power will never end; peace will last forever.
He will rule David’s kingdom and make it grow strong.
He will always rule with honesty and justice.
The LORD All-Powerful will make certain that this is done.”
The apostle John saw that God had indeed given us this child, this son and ruler. But amazingly, this son was more than a Son of Man. He was actually the Son of God, and was truly Emmanuel, God with us! John 1:1-18 explains how this can be:
“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word.
The Word was with God and was truly God.
From the very beginning the Word was with God.
And with this Word, God created all things.
Nothing was made without the Word.
Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone.
The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out.
God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith.
John wasn’t that light. He came only to tell about the light.
The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world.
The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word.
He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him.
Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him.
So he gave them the right to be the children of God.
They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires.
God himself was the one who made them his children.
The Word became a human being and lived here with us.
We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.
From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.
John spoke about him and shouted, “This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.”
Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.”
When a baby is born, he is wrapped in a “receiving blanket.” He is then placed in his mother’s arms. God loved us so much that he wrapped his own son in flesh, and placed him into our arms. God has redeemed his people. He has cancelled Adam’s sin, and given us access to the tree of life. He has led us through our wanderings, and shone his glory on and through us. We can no longer say that we don’t know who God is. He has revealed himself to us, and finally, has given himself to us. The question is, what will we do with this baby? We each have to choose for ourselves. What will your choice be?
Today we again light the first candle, the candle of forgiveness, and we light the second candle, the candle of readiness, and we light the third candle, the candle of worship. Now we light the last candle, the candle of receiving. Who will light it with me?