Long before Mary had to lie her baby down in a manger, the way was being prepared for Jesus Christ through prophecies starting as early as God’s promise in Genesis 3:15. We kick off our first week of reading Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller together as Nettie’s Book Club by looking back at God’s promise of the Messiah that will be the light of the world, and why this perfect gift of light is so important.
This week we will be reading Chapter 1 with Isaiah 9:2-7 and Chapter 2 with Matthew 1:1-18.
For to us a child is born,Isaiah 9:6
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.
No matter what your decorating style is, most people will fill their house with lights to celebrate Christmas. Once untangled, these little electrical stars remind us of the Light that was born on the first Christmas morn to save the world from darkness. To appreciate Jesus as the light of the world we have to admit that “things really are this bad, and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Things really are this dark – nevertheless, there is hope” (page 11). We are all broken sinful sinners which means we are not the answer to our problems. The answer must come from outside of us, and the only way we can be saved is Jesus Christ.
When we grasp the truth of what God has done we can only be filled with wonder, love and praise. Jesus came down to earth, lived a typical difficult human life, was ridiculed, tortured and killed. He overcame sin and death and rose from the dead. All because of his love for you and me. If this is our reality we cannot help but be filled with love for Jesus and an overwhelming desire to serve him in gratitude.
When we trust in Christ’s work on our behalf, rather than in our own moral efforts, God forgives and accepts us and implants his Holy Spirit in us to renew us from the inside out. This great salvation, this light that flashes upon you with all its new life, truth and beauty, comes as a gift. The only way you can receive it is to admit it’s an undeserved grace.Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas
Tim Keller also reminds us that Christmas is the good news about what has been done for us and not advice about what we need to do to be saved. Christianity is not a self-improvement movement filled with inspiration and guidance to live a good life. Rather, Christianity is the shocking realization that you need to be saved and that only Jesus Christ can save you. Because of Christmas, we can believe in happy endings, life ever after and that good will triumph over evil.
Through the resume of the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew shows us that the gospel is good news for all people regardless of their history or background.
There is no one, then, not even the greatest human being, who does not need the grace of Jesus Christ. And there is no one, not even the worst being, who can fail to receive the grace of Jesus Christ if there is repentance and faith.Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas
I’m looking forward to uncovering the hidden truths of Christmas with you.
Enjoy a blessed week!
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the books studied by Nettie’s Book Club. I am not profiting from the sale of these books. I will carefully select books that have had a significant impact on my faith. My goal is simply to share the wisdom in these books with others so we can assess and apply the wisdom of these authors to grow in understanding of our faith together.