Two thousand years ago, a baby came screaming and kicking into a stable in a tiny town on the other side of the world. This baby, just like every other baby born before or after, was born with an “expiration” date. Those young parents had no idea what was to come. They had knowledge of the prophecies, and they had the words the Angels had spoken to each of them directly; but just like every other Jew awaiting the Messiah, their greatest imaginations for their Son of the Most High wouldn’t even touch the reality of what was to come.

As I’ve been reading through the Old Testament in my chronological reading through the Bible, I’ve spent a lot of time in the period of Israel’s history riddled with idolatry, immorality, and just so much big, dirty sin. God’s wrath takes up pages and pages of the prophets’ books, spelling out disaster that would touch every inch of their lives. Their homes, their jobs, their food, their money, their legal matters, their children, their weather, their cities and rulers, even their very lives. God is so holy and righteous; to be with Him requires complete perfection. Perfection He knew we can’t attain on our own. Then He used centuries of an entire nation’s history to show us we couldn’t do it. Not that we needed that, right? Or am I the only one who’s already messed up today?

That baby was born into that world. A world of sin, pain, brokenness, and a people eternally striving for a perfection they could never grasp. This God-made-flesh was born into a world of expiring, hopeless people, and He used every day of His earthly life to show them what hope could look like, what perfection could look like. His “expiration” date would bring hope like this world had never known. The day that His earthly body breathed its last, that day changed everything. That day the veil in the temple tore open. The separation between God’s perfect, holy, righteousness and our rotten, sinful, dysfunction was gone forever. One holy sacrifice had eternally sealed our ability to be clothed in perfection.

Does that mean that every day between his birth and death meant nothing? (And we know that, even more importantly, the day of His death was not His last.) Of course not! And the implications for our life are monumental. If you believe in that Prince of Peace, if you know His sacrifice is your only hope and this Christmas is a celebration of the birth of your Savior, then your “expiration” date has taken on completely new meaning. It is nothing to fear. It is a day of hope, the day you will see your Creator in all His holiness and you will be made completely perfect. Every day between now and then has taken on new meaning as well. Every day until then is one of expectation, one of declaration, one of joy.  A day we get to use to show this world hope, to give out little tastes of perfection as we experience them.

We know we have an “expiration” date. Let’s make every day in between worth it.

Mary

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