“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4–5 ESV)
These two verses summarize God’s whole outworking of our salvation and how Jesus’ birth on Christmas was a part of it. Let’s look at the “why” of this.
Why? To Redeem us From Slaves into Sons
“To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Verse 5)
Wait, this doesn’t sound like chestnuts roasting on an open fire or rockin’ around the Christmas tree. No, it doesn’t. Those seem incredibly trite in light of the real truth that Christ came to free us from slavery to the cemetery. But it doesn’t stop. Not only does God make it possible to NOT be slaves anymore, God doubles down and welcomes us into his personal family “that we might receive adoption as sons.” No longer slaves but sons and daughters of the most high God. From slaves to forgiveness. From forgiveness to freedom. From freedom to adoption into the family of God. None of this would happen if Jesus had not been sent by God, born of a woman, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the price to set us free.
I’ve lived in Indiana for 25 years, but I grew up in Iowa. Something very special began in Iowa this year at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City (pictured left). This hospital is highly regarded for its medical care for very sick children. Earlier this year they completed a new addition, a tower of medical facilities and rooms built next to Kinnick Stadium where the University of Iowa football team plays their home games. The tower is tall enough to see over the edge of the stadium. They actually built the tower with windows on the stadium side so children could watch the home games.
This past year, Krista Young, a mom in Iowa posted on Facebook, “I think with the new U of I Hospital addition open, Kinnick should hold a ‘wave to the kids’ minute during every game. Can you imagine how neat it would be to have all of those fans, players, & coaching staff looking up at you sending a little inspiration?”
People at the University liked the idea. So at the first home game, after the first quarter, the announcer said, “It’s time to start a new tradition here at Kinnick. Take a look at the U of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and let’s give a big Hawkeye wave to all the kids watching the game.” The whole game stopped. The fans, the football players, the referees all turned and waved their support to the kids (see pictures below).
You likely know about this because it has been celebrated everywhere as a great thing. They call it The Kinnick Wave. The Kinnick Wave puts everything in perspective. In that moment the game doesn’t seem so important. The Big 10 standings don’t seem that important. It is a moment when 70,000 fans are reminded of the reality of the value of human life and the life and death struggle of families and children.
What is Christmas? When we get it, it puts everything else in perspective. It reminds us of the reality of life and death. That baby born in the manger was God waving to us, coming to us. We are the leukemia kids desperate for healing. We are the chemo kids clinging to hope.
You know what those kids do in the hospital when the stadium waves at them? They wave back (see left). It is their personal response.
The bottom line of Christmas is that salvation is a personal response. God requires us to respond in faith. To believe. To place our personal trust in Jesus as our Savior and our redeemer. In essence, to wave back. What does that wave of faith say? I believe that in the fullness of time God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law. Born to redeem me.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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