December 23, 2005


Galatians 4:8-11, 17-20

My dear children ... I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. Galatians 4:19


G. K. Chesterton observed that true contentment requires the power to get the most out of any situation. Doing this, he said, is both arduous and rare. Too many people, he noted, go through trials and come out on the other end unchanged. Chesterton stated that a person might go "?through' a plum pudding as a bullet might go through a plum pudding... But the awful and sacred question is, ?Has the pudding been through him?' Has he tasted, appreciated, and absorbed the solid pudding, with its ... tastes and smells?" In other words, has the person gotten out of the pudding all that was in it? Similarly, we will soon be through another Christmas, but the awful and sacred question is "Will Christmas have gone through us?"--or, better, "Will Christ have been formed in us, or will we come out on the other end unchanged?" The word form means "to fashion." Originally it referred to artists who shaped their material into an image. It also described the formation and growth of an embryo in a mother's body. As a spiritual leader, the apostle Paul explained that he was in labor until Christ was born full-term in the Galatians who followed him. To take full advantage of Christmas, we are to be formed into the likeness of Christ. Anything else is a disappointing Christmas.

Lord Jesus, we know that if you were born a thousand times in Bethlehem but not in our hearts, it wouldn't help us. Make our hearts your home, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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