Mystery of the incarnation
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1.3
Are your Christmas preparations including time to ponder the "mystery of the incarnation"? Buried in the statement above is the extraordinary assertion that Jesus not only co-created the universe (with the Father and the Spirit) but he also "sustains" it. In other words, if he ceased to exist, everything would collapse. Now imagine looking into the eyes of the baby Jesus and seeing therein your creator and saviour, who is also the very lynchpin of existence!
Many religions have baulked at this idea and have tried to demote or replace Jesus. In the early years of the Christian era, Arians denied that Jesus was fully God, as do their successors, the Unitarians and Jehovah Witnesses. Muslims advance Muhammad over Jesus as "seal of the prophets". During the late mediaeval period, the Roman Catholic Church offered indulgences in place of depending exclusively on Jesus for salvation. Today many western democracies are trying to "air-brush" their Christian roots out of their identity.
Humans have a tragic capacity for denying God and rejecting his overtures, which is futile too. The reality of Jesus' first coming and his coming again overshadow history as the "ultimate realities". At his first coming Jesus proclaimed judgment and salvation and provided for both. When he comes again he will conclude the process. These two realities, God's judgment and salvation, should dominate our behaviour, while Jesus' two comings, at Christmas and at the End of the Age, are the bookends of our era.