One of the strongest threads of Christmas story is Easter. In many ways the birth of Jesus is the culmination of God's story in our own temporal world. The Incarnation, God becoming fully human in Jesus, in and of itself is a miracle of God's love. The idea of an unknowable, all powerful being stooping to a broken, dirty earth is a staggering concept. And yet it ultimately points to the cross and resurrection. We see this two fold picture of Advent and Easter in the carol this week:
Freely love and pardon
This is Gospel language reminding us that God loved us before we loved him. That his gift of Jesus isn’t under compulsion or because we deserve it but by his choice. Again the following verses illustrate this two fold good news:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus came. In humility. In love. In order to pardon. As stated above not to condemn, but to save the world through himself. And as the prophet Isaiah says,
"After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities."
The gospel thread at Christmas is a gift freely given, undeserved, and through faith may be simply accepted - bringing the forgiveness of sin and new life out of death.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring.
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing.
When he comes, when he comes
Who will make him welcome?