Christmas Communion Meditation
by Tim Ogle
Mark Lowry, of The Gaither Vocal Band fame, wrote a song some years ago entitled “Mary Did You Know.” The last verse of the songs contains these words:
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.
This song brings to mind the humble thought of a very young mother holding a baby, not just any baby, but God in the form of a baby. The scene becomes even more pensive as we imagine all the things that must have been pulsing through Mary’s mind as she held him from infancy, to the time he was a toddler, to the time she and Joseph couldn’t keep him still. If you are a parent, perhaps you can remember these milestone memories with your own children.
Another scene that touches my heart, and perhaps your heart also, is a in the movie Passion of the Christ. As Jesus carries his cross through the streets of Jerusalem He is being spit upon, cursed and people are throwing things at him. Mary is shown watching her son as his staggering, beaten, tortured body ascends to that famous hill known as Golgotha. He stumbles and falls, the weight of the crossbeam crashing down upon his bruised, beaten and bleeding body. The scene cuts to a flash back of Mary running to a very young Jesus as he falls and scrapes his knee. Her motherly instinct takes over, tears in her eye as she runs to make sure that the child, her child, that she loves so dearly is okay.
These are two thought provoking and emotional images. These are images that humanize Jesus. They are dramatic, pensive and reflective. They allow us to begin seeing Jesus, the Son of God, Immanuel (God with us) as human, a man with a mother. We see a mother with a son that she had held in her arms, a precious baby.
Fred Craddock once said, “The church cannot live on the thin diet of fond memories.” Which points to the most difficult struggle in our Christian faith. Is this Jesus an emotional story? Is the Bible a collection of remarkable stories of hope and struggle, filled with giants who are slain, battles that are miraculously won, seas that are parted…or is it true? Is this Jesus just a dramatic story, a fabrication of mythology? Is this a diet of fond memories, or is it true?
It is not enough for us to come and talk about an amazing story of angels singing to shepherds, wise men coming from the east to visit a story book king, or a mother who is watching a young baby grow up to be the hero in a work of fiction. It is not enough for us to retell this story through children’s plays and cantatas. It is not our warm feelings that we gather to rekindle. For this baby is not only the son of this Jewish woman…he is also our son. Isaiah states it clearly:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. ” (Isaiah 9:7, NIV)
We must come to a point of ownership, as God has come to claim ownership of us, His people, selected by Him, for Him. We must come to recognize this baby Jesus as OUR son. This flesh and this blood, HIS REAL BLOOD. The promise for our atonement (at-one-ment with God) He is the hope of Israel, and all mankind. This baby, this Son, our Son, who is THE Savior of the world. We do not gather today for a sermon, a warm message or to exchange handshakes and a smile. We must recognize that we are equally the ones who spit upon him, we cursed him and we threw and are throwing things at him. We do not gather today to sing catchy Christmas songs. We gather together this day to proclaim a risen Savior’s death, burial and resurrection…but most of all that this Son of ours, that we spit upon, cursed and killed, this Savior loved us, died for us and is returning again.
For we must lift Him up, for if we lift Him up all men will be drawn to Him (John 12:32). If we lift Him up in our thoughts we will be draw to Him. If we examine ourselves, our role in His birth, murderous death, burial, glorious resurrection and His pending return, He will be in His rightful place. He will be the center of our worship. This again will be HIS table. It is this Son, this Savior that must be lifted up.
It is this Jesus that will lead us to reaching in, reaching up and reaching out through his hope. Join me in celebration, anticipation and proclamation of a real, living, breathing Savior King.