Beginnings and Endings

By: Marcia Lee Laycock

I was shopping, picking up the last of the items on my list for Christmas. I told the woman at the counter I was finished. “That’s it,” I said. “I’m done.” Then my cell phone rang. It was my daughter, asking to be picked up from school. As I drove, I mentally went down the girls’ wish lists and realized I’d forgotten something. Laura still had some shopping to do too, so we went back to the same store. (The 50% off sign is a big draw in our family!)

The clerk smiled pleasantly. “I thought you were done.” I grinned and nodded. “So did I.” It seems we’re never done. There’s always another gift to get, another item to buy for the Christmas dinner, another invitation to give out for that party before the 25th. Then, all of a sudden, it’s over. The day is past, the gifts are put away, the tree is tossed out. Then the plans begin for New Year’s – more invitations to give and receive, more food to buy. We’re never done.

I imagine Mary, like most women who give birth, breathed a deep sigh of relief when Jesus was born. After the long nine-month wait, at last it was finished. But the birth of Christ, as no other, was not an end but a beginning. It was a new beginning for us all, a new agreement between man and God. It took thirty-some years to bring the plan into fulfillment, but there was no doubt it would come to be. The end was in sight from the moment of Christ’s birth. He was the baby who came to die, and His death, like His birth, was like no other.

When Jesus said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30), He wasn’t referring to just the span of thirty years he spent on earth. He was referring to the plan set in motion from eternity past – the plan to bring all of mankind into right relationship with God. His part was done, once and for all, as He took the sin of mankind on Himself and removed the barrier between human beings and God. His part was done, but our part was just beginning.

The birth and death of Jesus gave us all the chance to say yes to Him, to discover and develop a relationship with Him, and to tell others about Him. His birth gave us all life, His death gave us all forgiveness, and His resurrection gave us all purpose. When we accept that, we will never be done, neither in growing like Him, nor in receiving and dispensing His love. It’s going to go on forever.

That’s a reason to celebrate! So let the carols ring and the feasting never end. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

 

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