May Christ be born in you

The Standard December 17, 2020

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Luke 2:4-14)

In 1868 Phillips Brooks reflected this beautiful passage in what would become one of our most beloved Christmas carols – O Little Town of Bethlehem. In the last verse we sing, “O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!”

Sue Monk Kidd, in one of her books, wrote of a visit to a monastery in mid-December. As a monk was walking by her, she greeted him with “Merry Christmas.” The monk responded, “May Christ be born in you.” This made quite an impression on Kidd.

What does it mean for Christ to be born in us? Scripture says that God actually lives within each Christian.

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13: 5)

“To them [the Lord’s people] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

The Message translation puts it this way, “This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message.” (Colossians 1: 26-28)

As we hold fast to the truth of Christ in us, let us be renewed this Advent season by the good news of great joy which is central in our lives. In this way, Christ will be born in us.

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