THE WORD IS
Our tables are usually laden with the very best on Christmas. In many homes, however, the tables are laden with straw, and the nutritious food is discarded. The people who do this believe they are doing just the opposite. They are mistaken.
Jesus was placed in a manger where the food for animals was usually put. He is the true Bread of life. "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh" (Joh 6:51). Without Jesus we are spiritually starved, dead, without life. We shudder when we see pictures of malnourished children in underdeveloped countries. But are our hearts touched by the even more pitiful spiritual condition of people? Jesus has come to be the Bread of life. He wants to nourish our souls.
The tables of some on Christmas may be bare because they have misunderstood Jesus' mission. They believe that Jesus has come to supply us with earthly bread. Jesus, as God's Son, does indeed uphold this world, giving us sunshine and rain, causing the seeds to grow and blessing our work. But Jesus did not have to come to earth for this purpose. Earthly life belongs in the sphere of the first article of the Creed, or in other words in the sphere of creation or providence. He who understands Jesus' mission to be merely an earthly one, rejects the second and third articles of the Creed or, in other words, atonement and sanctification.
This has happened to many. To them Jesus is no longer the Son of God, co?equal with the Father. They have been left with only the man, Jesus. God's Son has always been in existence, but there has never been a Jesus from Nazareth, who was only a man. Jesus Christ is one person and at the same time true God and true man. God has become man, man has not become God. He to whom Jesus is only a man eats straw on Christmas. But He who believes that He is God's Son, knows that "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Jesus has never said anything that He cannot fulfill. His Word is true: "I have come that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
In the sphere of the first article of the Creed we may have needs that even good will cannot entirely fulfill. But in the sphere of the second and third articles, that deal with atonement and sanctification, we do not have to be in need. We receive forgiveness for our sins according to the riches of His grace. We have received the eternal God as a Christmas gift.