God created a perfect world for us to live in. It was incredible. Perfect bodies that never got sick or died. Perfect environment in which to live and work and make our lives in forever. God actually walked with His creation in the perfection which He had made and given freely to His creation. His presence was the greatest gift of what He had given to man.
But, sadly, God's first creations chose to bind themselves to the chains of death and the curse of an imperfect world. Probably the same choice that we would have made because, we too have trouble believing that God has our best interest at heart. We think that surely He is keeping something just out of our reach that would be better. So we choose, even now, to bind ourselves to the slavery of sin rather than the freedom of His presence.
But Christmas is what breaks the chains. I think that most of my favorite songs that we sing in our church have a phrase that says because of Jesus our chains are gone. The chains of my insecurity that even still, too often, bind me when I have the option to loose them. Chains of secret sins of the mind or body that keep me from experiencing God's beautiful presence in worship through His Word. Those horrible chains of fear that have kept me, far too often, from getting to know people and letting them know me and that I love a God who had a plan.
You see, God NEVER gives up on what He has created. Even when He knew beforehand that His precious creation would CHOOSE the chains of sin, death and the curse of an imperfect world, He had a plan to redeem us. A radical plan that would not make sense to us because we still think that there has to be a better or easier way to get rid of our chains.
After thousands of years of waiting and thinking that maybe God didn't have a plan and that maybe there was something else out of our reach that would be better--God sent Jesus.
An infant born in a dirty animal stall was going to break the chains. A helpless, squalling, infant, human baby. Who was also God. Emmanuel. God coming to be with us once again to live in our presence rather than to discard what He had made.
Redemption. To buy back that which was once ours but was lost. Not so our lives could be what they were meant to be now because we had already messed that up. But so we could have something in which to look forward. The day when God will once again walk with us in a perfect world that can never be corrupted again.
Only because Jesus came to break the chains.
Yesterday I was driving for an extended time. I was listening to the radio as I usually do. The radio station that I listen to played an extraordinary recording of some Christmas songs.
They were not digitally mastered to perfection in a studio but they were some of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. They were women who are in prison somewhere in Illinois. In chains, so to speak, for the sins that they have committed. But when their voices raised to sing Christmas carols with Sara Groves in an acoustic unplugged moment, their voices sounded beautiful and free. Like the chains were gone.
Because of Jesus.