The Grace of Christmas

A number of years ago we reflected upon Matthew Henry’s exposition of the account in Matthew’s Gospel of Joseph’s reaction to the news of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Henry points us to the mystery and wonder of that special birth and how Joseph responded eventually by faith in God’s revelation about it.  Such obedient faith cuts to the heart of what the Christmas story teaches us.  There we encounter a God who breaks into our world in sacrificial love in order to redeem us through the cross.

                This year I want to reflect upon another thought from Matthew Henry.  This one comes from an exposition of John 1:14 where we read that “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the only begotten who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  The Word that the Apostle John uses in this verse, translated as dwelling, is the word tabernacle.  It is a word that refers us back to the account in the Old Testament book of Exodus in which the Tabernacle was created as a temporary, mobile tent in which God’s people could meet with Him.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon quotes from Henry as he seeks to explain just what the significance of this tent was to God’s people. 

                Spurgeon writes, “Now, you remember that in the Jewish Church its greatest glory was that God tabernacle in its midst: not the tent of Moses, not the various pavilions of the princes of the twelve tribes, but the humble tabernacle in which God dwelt, was the boast of Israel.  They had the King Himself in the midst of them, a present God in their midst.  The Tabernacle was a tent to which men went when they would commune with God, and it was the spot to which God came when He would commune with man.  To use Matthew Henry’s words, it was the “trysting place” between the Creator and the Worshipper.  Here they met each other through the slaughter of the bullock and the lamb, and there was reconciliation between them twain.  Now, Christ’s human flesh was God’s tabernacle, and it is in Christ that God meets with man, and it is in Christ that man has dealings with God.  The Jew of old went into God’s tent, in the centre of the camp, if he would worship: we come to Christ if we would pay our homage.  If the Jew would be released from ceremonial uncleanness, after he had performed the rites, he went up to the sanctuary of his God, that he might feel again that there was peace between God and his soul; and we, having been washed in the precious blood of Christ, have access with boldness unto God, even the father through Christ, who is our tabernacle and the tabernacle of god among men.” 

                Because of this tremendous blessing the God has given to us in Christ we can come to God in worship and praise.  This is the heart of the Christmas account of God’s miraculous delivery of us from sin. 

                If you are in the Brampton area and do not have a Church to attend you are welcome to join us on Sunday December 23rd at 11AM for a special Christmas Sunday Service.  We also pray that you will be able to join us on Monday December 24th at 7PM for a Christmas Eve celebration.  I know that each service will be a blessing to every one of us. 

                We pray that you will receive God’s richest blessings in this Christmas season and in the coming year.