This is an excerpt from former Center for Public Justice president James W. Skillen’s book A Covenant to Keep: Meditations on the Biblical Theme of Justice.
…The surprise comes in the way God chose to accomplish judgment and redemption, for the great light that finally dawns on people living in darkness is Jesus, the quiet, humble child who accommodates himself at first to all of the Jewish holy days.
Yet the incarnate Son of God does not lose himself in the events of the Jewish calendar. Christ’s work cannot be remembered or grasped by an annual holiday. Christmas marks the beginning of the end of history, the end of the beginning of all creation. The incarnate one came to bear God’s judgment against sin, to suffer death in order to satisfy God’s just requirements for the entire creation. The One before whom every knee will bow came first to bow before the Father who sent him.
Jesus comes preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 4:17). Only by heeding this word from God will anyone be able to see the light that gives hope and leads to true justice. Only be entering into Jesus’ response to God’s condemnation of Israel will we be able to repent and exit the darkness of sin that inhabits us. Only by watching to see what Jesus does and following him where he goes will it be possible to celebrate Christmas aright.
-James W. Skillen is the former president of the Center for Public Justice