Have you ever wrestled with the question, “If God is good and loving, why is this world so messed up and broken?”
I know I’ve wondered how God can just sit by why over 20,000 children across the planet die of starvation and lack of water every single day. Doesn’t He care about the over 27 million people trapped in modern day slavery? As fresh tragedies and growing poverty overshadow the holiday season, I know many will be asking if we really have any reasons to celebrate. Does God care about this broken world? Does God have a plan to help us? Has God communicated His side of the story?
Scripture reveals that this world is not how God intended it to be. When God finished creating the world He declared it was “very good.” God then gave humanity the authority to lovingly rule and reign over this world. He wanted us to be His partners of creation, as we cultivated and continued the work He started.
Tragically, our partnership was short-lived as we soon rebelled against his authority and arrogantly believed we could do better without Him. Disconnected from His loving authority, creation reverted into chaos as it suffered under the curse of our rebellion. By rebelling against God’s best we were exiled from paradise and God gave us just what we wanted: a world in which humanity ruled and reigned outside of the good and holy world He had given us.
God never left us nor abandoned us, He had an even bigger plan to win our hearts. Scripture reveals that just a few generations after being exiled from paradise men began to “call upon the name (or authority) of the Lord.” We painfully recognized that we needed God and we cried out for His help and intervention.
God answered our cry even before we admitted our need and began a process to restore this world as He originally desired it to be. God’s plan centered in sending Jesus, His Son, into our world to demonstrate His love. Jesus was miraculously conceived by God’s Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin mother Mary. In this way Jesus was 100 percent man and 100 percent God, united together to recreate this world.
God sent Jesus to be our King. Throughout His ministry Jesus announced the “good news of the Kingdom of God” as he set people free from oppression and sickness. Jesus challenged the assumptions of the religious leaders who believed they knew what God was like and that they accurately reflected God’s heart. Jesus targeted those rejected by the world and invited them to be a part of the Kingdom of God He was leading.
In spite of His miraculous ministry, this world rejected the authority God had given Him and had Jesus executed as a blasphemer. Since Jesus had never rebelled against God’s will, death had no legal hold on Him and God raised Him from the dead. Through Christ, God can set us free from our rebellion so that we can be empowered by His life and live for His agenda. His Life within us restores the joy, peace, and love we were created to enjoy. The good news of Jesus isn’t just the message of Jesus, it’s the message of Jesus lived out in community. The Kingdom of God is God’s solution to this broken world. The Kingdom of God is a group of people who are surrendered to the will of the King, empowered by His Spirit, and joining His mission of re-creating this world as He intended it.
God wants to know if we care about those taken captive to substance abuse, depression, bullying, loneliness, violence, and poverty. God wants to know if He can use our lives to lead them to freedom.
Most kings enter town on their war horse, with all of their power on display, to conquer through force. King Jesus entered this world as a baby, a child of a humble family, seeking to conquer our hearts through love. If you believe the kings of this world have everything under control, Christmas is just another day on the calendar. If you believe humanity is not in need of God’s intervention, Christmas is nothing to celebrate. However if you, like the original shepherds of the nativity, long to be released from the evil and oppressive systems of this world, then celebrate with them the birth of our Redeemer. If you are convinced we need a righteous and holy King to save us from ourselves then Christmas is truly the best day of the year.