Down the street from where I grew up were two boys – and together we played street hockey, hide-and-go-seek, and all sorts of activities that kept us busy.   But there were times where things weren’t so good.  The oldest boy in the family was quite vocal about how things should work around the house.  And he wasn’t happy.

One day after school, my friend got off the bus and started walking back into town.  He had had a big fight with his father and decided enough was enough.  His father, he said, was mean wasn’t doing what he wanted. He had decided he was running way.  

With his bagged lunch, my friend took off.  I remember being worried – how would he survive? Where would he go?  It seemed like hours, but a short time later, I saw my friend’s dad drove home with his runaway son in the passenger seat.  He had walked the 1 ½ miles into town, but his father spotted him as he was driving home.

The story of the Bible is the history of a people who have run away from God.  Placed in a loving, secure environment, our first parents were given everything they needed to live and love and enjoy life.  They were God’s people in God’s place in God’s presence.

But a whisper came from the enemy of God – maybe their Father was withholding something good from them.  He was keeping them in the dark.  If they would eat this food, they would know what God had been withholding from them.  So, they ate…and immediately felt shame and began to run.

Ever since then, humanity has been on the run from God. Suspicious, questioning, wondering what He is withholding. We are children who have been estranged from our Father. 

How do you get back home when you’ve run away, especially when you don’t want to come back home? God made a way.  When God’s people broke God’s rules and didn’t want God as king and refused to listen to his prophets, God sent his only Son to bring them back home.  He came – the presence of God to be with the people of God to bring them back to the place where God dwells.  But to do that, he had to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people – his very life.  And whoever would trust in the Son would find life and have the promise that they would be God’s people who would be brought home to God’s place to enjoy God’s presence. 

Christmas is a love story of God’s rescue of a runaway people.  He has come near so that you might be brought back.  That you might enjoy a restored relationship with your Father. 

This is what we recount at Christmas: the unexpected entrance of the God who loves you infinitely more than you could ever imagine.  Let’s celebrate God with us – Immanuel!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Pastor Andrew

Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.