Christmas is a time of memories. Of course, the primary memory is of the birth of the Saviour. However, it is inseparable from memories of our childhood and the security and warmth of home. Christmas carols recall those memories, of years long ago. Today’s Sunday reminds us that to fully understand what the Nativity is about we need to include the memories of stories of the Old Testament. Jesus’ birth is not some unexpected, dramatic event. Rather, in the midst of the quiet and humility of Bethlehem, the Child who is born is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament—the fulfillment of God’s desire and intention to be with us.
This Sunday speaks to us of the many figures of old who witnessed and taught (often against the accepted views of the day) that God’s sole desire is to be with us. Whether Abraham or Moses, Isaiah or Jeremiah, their message is simple: God is loving and compassionate. God wants us to understand this. In spite of humanity’s errors and sins, God has always been with us, forgiven us, and called us into union. When humanity was created, we walked with God in the garden. Adam rejected this relationship, but God never gave up on us. God continues to love and care for us. This is the ever-gracious God who comes to us in the Saviour. The holy forefathers, the entire story of Israel, creation itself, are all reminders of the graciousness of God—of GOD WITH US!