Recently I was reflecting on the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation. What was the ‘deciding’ factor that led God to send His only Son into the world? What initiated Christmas in the first place?
While it is customary to link sin with Lent, it is uncharacteristic to associate Christmas with sin. But the Word of God points to various biblical scripture verses that reminds us that the purpose for Jesus’ birth here on earth, and so the dawn of Christmas, was essentially “to save his people from their sins” Matthew 1:21.
The popular television drama series ‘‘Prison Break’’ which has kept so many of us up for many late nights, pinned to our sofas, to get through the voluminous number of episodes (some 82), somewhat gives us an illustration of God’s planned breakthrough into history. In a nutshell, for those of you that haven’t yet got tempted to watch this encapsulating drama, the story of Prison Break revolves around two brothers; one (Lincoln Burrows) who has been imprisoned and sentenced to death, and his brother (Michael Scofield) who gets himself sent to prison with a devised and elaborate escape plan for both his brother and himself.
This television drama gives us a glimpse of our own story. While Michael Scofield had to become a prisoner to help his brother escape the death penalty, so too did Jesus have to forfeit his heavenly throne and become Man to free us from our eternal separation from God through sin. Sin, both committed by ourselves or through those around us, robs us of our freedom and makes us slaves in this world – prisoners of our emotions, behaviour, bodies and minds.
The true and real meaning of Christmas can only be fully appreciated and correctly celebrated if we believe the words Jesus proclaims ‘‘Your liberation is near at hand’’ (Luke 21:28). These words, and so Christmas, have meaning only for those of us who acknowledge that we are prisoners and need someone to set us free, for those of us who recognise that we are sinners and in desperate need of a Saviour.
To keep discovering and becoming part of the mystery of God’s unending love for us, through the incarnation of His Son, we need to take the plunge and immerse ourselves into relearning the power of fasting and daily prayer. By giving God the first fruits of our fasting and prayer, we are essentially being handed the prison map which will lead us to the gate of Freedom and the means by which we can get to know the person who will get us out of prison – that is Jesus Christ.