Tis the season to celebrate, and in this country we celebrate in grand style with decorations and food and gifts and family. At Trinity, we celebrate with concerts, food, friends and fun. But what are we celebrating really?
We were blessed to enjoy a magnificent Christmas program on Thursday. Seeing the fruit of the hard work put in over the last few months was truly amazing. All of our music groups, from chimes to choirs, and from guitar to the orchestra - it was all on full display, and all to the glory of God. Our Grammar School students, under the direction of Mrs. Jennifer Brown, put on a spirited show "Jingle Bell Beach" which shared the Good News in a creative, inspiring and most excellent way.
Faculty and staff are enjoying a season of celebration on campus as they coordinate Christmas parties in classrooms, Christmas sweater contests, and parade around with their Christmas Mugs. On Wednesday, we will enjoy a Christmas luncheon together and on Friday, with great anticipation, we will have our alumni join us for a Christmas brunch. I look forward to seeing each of them and hearing about how they are doing. Some of them will join us early for a panel discussion to bless our juniors and seniors as they share their experiences transitioning from Trinity to college and the work force.
In all of this celebration, it's easy to lose sight of what we are celebrating. Even when we sing Christmas carols and talk about baby Jesus, and the manger, and the Christmas story, it's easy to see it as just a story without seeing the purpose of the story. It's important to remember that what we're celebrating is the reason Jesus came, the reason He left His throne in heaven, the reason he condescended to be born a human baby, and that reason is redemption. Redemption is rescue. He came to rescue us.
In Bonhoeffer's advent sermon in a London church in 1933, he told a story of a mine disaster:
You know what a mine disaster is. In recent weeks we have had to read about one in the newspapers.
The moment even the most courageous miner has dreaded his whole life long is here. It is no use running into the walls; the silence all around him remains...The way out for him is blocked. he knows the people up there are working feverishly to reach the miners who are buried alive. Perhaps someone will be rescued, but here in the last shaft? An agonizing period of waiting and dying is all that remains.
But suddenly a noise that sounds like tapping and breaking in the rock can be heard. Unexpectedly, voices cry out, "Where are you, help is on the way!" Then the disheartened miner picks himself up, his heart leaps, he shouts, "Here I am, come on through and help me!" I'll hold out until you come! Just come soon!" A final, desperate hammer blow to his ear, now the rescue is near, just one more step and he is free.
We have spoken of Advent itself. That is how it is with the coming of Christ: "Look up and raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near."
He has rescued us, He has given us hope, He has set us free. He is so much more than a baby in a manger. He is our Savior, our God, our Deliverer! HE is the reason we celebrate!