But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
(Galatians 4:4-5 NIV)
One of the many things we like about Christmas is a sense of belonging, a sense of community. Consider, for example, that communities have tree lighting ceremonies and clothing drives. There are community activities like the parade in Placerville or events down at the El Dorado Hills CSD. And of course we want our children and grandchildren to come home for Christmas. We want be with our family, our personal “community,” so that we feel loved and have joy that we are with our family.
That’s really what God was doing when He invented Christmas. He was bringing together the community that had been destroyed by sin and Satan. When Adam and Eve sinned, their perfect community with God was severely damaged. Fear had replaced faith. Marriage was greatly diminished. One of their sons killed his own brother. In place of community, humanity had become fractured, contentious, broken.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son. After centuries of sending prophets and priests, kings and judges, God Himself came. Jesus was born. Jesus entered the human race to repair a broken humanity.
He could do this because He was fully human, “born of a woman, born under law.” Because Jesus, the Son of God, was born as a human being, Jesus was under the authority of God’s law, just like you and me. But where you and I fall short so often, Jesus stood strong. He always kept His Father’s Law, always did the Godly thing. That’s why Jesus could redeem those under the law. He kept the Law perfectly, and died under the Law in our place, taking the punishment we deserve. The payment Jesus made was enough to “redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Jesus was creating community, taking sinners, redeeming them, and making them His sons and daughters, his family, his community.
This is one reason why we celebrate Christmas with such joy! We aren’t alone, even if we don’t have biological family nearby and they can’t make it home for Christmas, for we are part of God’s family, His community. We may not share the same zip code with friends who have moved away, but we share the same Savior.
Thank you God, for sending your Son at the right time, so that He might redeem us from our sins and give us eternal life. Give us comfort when we fell lonely, remembering that we are part of your community. Help us to celebrate Christmas with great joy and thanksgiving. Amen.