A little over two-thousand years ago a mother wrapped her new born baby in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger which was actually a feeding trough. That baby would literally bring the world together! That baby was no ordinary baby, He was Immanuel; God with us! He was the Eternal Word of God wrapped in human flesh. The Sovereign dwelling among sinners. As C.S. Lewis stated in his book, Mere Christianity, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”
Just before Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins, He prayed in John 17, "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are...that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Peter wrote in 1Pet. 2:4-6, "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."
Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself as a sacrifice for it (Ephesians 5:25), and He prayed in John 17:24, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." That prayer will finally and fully be answered when Christ returns at the end of the age. Paul wrote that when He comes He will bring all the believers who are already with Him in heaven and that those who are alive will be caught up "together" and that "we" will forever be with the Lord! Jesus came all those years ago that He might bring all of us, the people of God, together to Him.
As Rick Safriet has said so well, "without the cross you and I would have never known each other." Thanks to Christ and His work for us on the cross, we do! So, today on this Christmas morning, I am thankful to God for Christ's eternal plan and redemptive work because it not only brought us to Him, but it brought us together! Merry Christmas, Church!