When I walk down the street or press my way through a busy mall, it seems people are as adrift as a satin white snowflake that’s blown by a fierce wind. They participate in a vigorous celebration of an annual winter holiday that is a time of jubilation, but they have never experienced that infusion of joy that Peter described as being “unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8).”
Paul wanted the saints at Ephesus to embrace a joy-filled relationship with Christ, so he prayed for them to “have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
The joy and fullness of Christ is the essence of the incarnation, and as John said: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth . . . and of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:14, 16).
When I observe people today, I wonder if their holiday happenings are a celebration of this grace and truth or an aberration of its substance.
When you look at the faces and into the eyes of the people you meet on the street: What do you see? Is it a lighthearted twinkle or a heavyhearted wrinkle? Is it the glad refrain of the fullness of Christ or is it the sad disdain of the world’s dullness?
What’s the difference between the two? Isn’t the incarnation the demarcation of wholeness and hole-ness? Christmas is a contrast between the love of God and the lack of the world. Paul captured this in his letter to the Colossians:
- In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).
- In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (Colossians 1:19).
- In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
The joy, peace, and fullness that you hunger for will never be found in a neatly wrapped package beneath a tree: It is only found in the baby who was born on Christmas day.