I have a vivid memory from my childhood of a time when my life could have ended quite abruptly. Our family was on vacation in the summer, in the middle of a heatwave. We stopped at a campground by a lake to spend the night and my parents let me and my three older siblings pump up the air raft, put on our swim suits and go into the lake. I honestly don't remember what happened. What I do remember is being underwater, unable to get back to the surface, and then seeing a white streak of bubbles plunge through the water toward me. The next memory I have is of my father hanging up his clothes, wallet and the contents of his wallet near enough to the fire to dry them out.
My life could have ended that day, except that my dad noticed what was going on (or at least noticed that one of us was missing) and dove in to rescue me. My dad showed up.
That's Christmas in a nutshell: God noticed our predicament and dove in to rescue us. At Christmas God dove from the glory of heaven into the murky waters of earth. He immersed himself in a world that he made, but which had gone in a very dark direction from his original intent; a world of people who more easily forget him than give him the love and attention that he deserves...considering that he made us. Unafraid of getting "soaked" by this evil world, he dove in, as one of us, so that he could grow up among us, show us the love that he has for us and prove it by dying to rescue us. God showed up!
And God knows your predicament. He doesn't necessarily take away the harsh reality that created the problem in the first place, but he comes to make true life come out of situations that seem hopeless to us. God plunges into our mess so that you and I can be rescued into the life he created us for. Once, during his time on earth, Jesus said "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of" (John 10:10b, The Message Translation").
He was willing to give up his life, to offer us a chance at real life. The chance becomes a guarantee when we trust that Jesus is really God, that he really can forgive us and that he can give us new, eternal life. At Christmas we celebrate that God showed up! This Christmas, will you trust that he showed up - that he dove in - for you? Will you let him pull you to shore? The choice is yours.
We invite you to join us to worship the God who dove in for you at our Christmas Eve service on our YouTube channel at 6:30 (or after) on December 24. And if you choose to trust Jesus, or if you have questions about faith in him, let us know here. We'd love to answer your questions and encourage you. Merry Christmas!