Seventy years ago today God changed everything, everywhere. Though there were fears and concerns that global conflict was possible, on the 7th of December, 1941, those concerns were abruptly confirmed. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor dramatically changed life on our planet. Over the course of World War II, over 400,000 Americans died in combat-related incidents. But even this number pales in comparison to the number who lost their lives world-wide –over 60 million people. Everything changed, everywhere. Suddenly, nothing was certain.
December 7 and 9/11 are dates that should remind us that man is not in control of his destiny. These events are controlled by God, who does as he pleases. We have no guarantee that life will be the same tomorrow, December 8, as it is today. What we do know with certainty is that God will be faithful to his people and to his Word. Below are two passages from the Bible that speak vividly of God’s power and control:
21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. –Colossians 1:16-17
The prose of Colossians beautifully complements the poetry of Isaiah. The message is consistent and powerful—God rules! Our lives are in his hands. But many people interpret those events differently. To many, those stunning events from recent history could not possibly happen under the control of a good and sovereign God. The idea of a sovereign Lord who rules over everything is increasingly repugnant to our culture. It is so repugnant that many refuse to associate the birth of Christ with the Christmas season.
Yet the day that Jesus was born is a day of hope—hope for people who are mired in sin, selfish preoccupation and self-importance.
There are days when God changes everything. He does this so we will know that true life comes to us only when we come to know Christ. In this sense, the advent of Christ—along with his resurrection— is what truly matters above all others.
This is the story of history. Christmas is about Christ! Teach this story to children. Seventy years ago doubt began to flood into the lives of millions —would there still be political freedom? Ten years ago we began to doubt whether we would be safe from terrorist attacks. Over 2,000 years ago, God acted to remove doubt that sin would rule our hearts—He sent his Son.
Tell the story of the Advent of Jesus Christ to your children as God tells it:
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Peace comes not through the actions of men, but from the redemptive love of God. It is, indeed, good news!