‘God and sinners reconciled’
Those familiar words from the hymn Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ring in our ears this time of year. But how many times do we gloss over them, thinking they are just filler until we get to the chorus?
Yet, those words are the full Gospel in our ears. For it is not a phrase that we speak, for by our great and grievous sins we are in no position to make such a statement; but rather it is a phrase that God Himself speaks to us. The war that has long waged between God and His people is over; not because of anything that we have done on our own, but because of what the one who now lies in the manger is going to do.
God and sinners are reconciled through the holy and precious blood and the innocent suffering and death of the one whose birth we now celebrate with great joy and exultation.
Probably not the image you will see on any of the cards you get in the mail, and maybe not worthy of an ornament that hangs on your tree; but the one who now lies in the manger came into the world to die. Certainly not something you immediately think about when you celebrate the birth of a child or grandchild, but today, as we look in the manger and see the innocent newborn Jesus squirm in the swaddling clothes, there is the ever present reminder that the manger is not what He came into the world for, rather it was to go to the cross, suffer, die and rise three days later.
As you no doubt sing out the familiar hymns of Christmas over the next two weeks, ponder the words God and sinners reconciled from the hymn Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, knowing that the one in the manger came to make peace between you and God, so that you might receive the perfect gift of forgiveness, life and salvation.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!