Look to the future now, it's only just begun

When the Christmas season begins each year, I hear the familiar words of “Here it is Merry Christmas,” by Slade. In the well-known chorus to this staff Christmas party anthem, Noddy Holder sings, “So here it is Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun. Look to the future now, it's only just begun.” 

As I reflect on the holiday season, I think that Slade’s message may actually be very close to the real meaning of Christmas. There is a tendency when we tell the story of Jesus’ birth to tell it as its own story, apart from what happened in the thirty-three years following it. The message in the song is that Christmas is here and it’s great, but that we should look forward, because this is just the beginning. 

The good news of Jesus’ birth is wonderful not only in itself, but also for all that Jesus would do in the future. Jesus didn’t just come to be with us, although that is marvelous enough; he came to live for us, to die for us, to rise for us, and to save us! The Christmas story points us forward to the cross of Christ. At his birth, the mission had only just begun. In Matthew 2:11 we are told of the gifts the magi brought to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Myrrh was used as anointing oil for death in the ancient world, symbolizing even at his birth that Jesus was to die for his people. We are pointed to his death from the very start of his life. 

This year, as we celebrate together, let us remember that at Christmas, God’s plan of salvation had only just begun. The message of love it brings continues to grow, and finds its ultimate expression when Jesus willingly laid down his life so that you and I could be rescued.

guest post by Andrew Griffiths