I vividly recall being challenged to engage in an after-school fight when I was ten years-old. Foolishly, I agreed.
When the final bell rang I proceeded reluctantly to the designated spot where my opponent and his motley crew were waiting for me. As I approached, my opponent scoffed at me, taunting me to make the first move . . . until we were interrupted by the sound of a man’s voice.
The crowd which had assembled quickly scattered as the man approached. He summoned me forward and ordered the rest of the children to go home.
It was my father.
So you see, interference can be a good thing; especially if the one who is interfering knows better than we do. Interference can be a good thing if the one interfering has abilities that we lack to remedy a problem.
We are reminded at Christmas that this is the story of God’s intervention in human history. Conceivably, God could have left us to our own devices, but He knew that the problem was beyond our ability to remedy.
The core problem, as is identified throughout Scripture, is the problem of sin. Sure, there were, and are, other problems—problems of war, problems of injustice, and problems of poverty—but, clearly, these are the symptoms of the core problem.
What we soon learn is that Jesus did not come to this earth to give us a band-aid solution to our problems. This is not heaven’s version of a public relations visit. Jesus did not come merely to provide humanity with a helpful body of teachings, as if sufficient education could fix our problems. This was a rescue mission. Jesus came to overcome for us the fundamental barrier between God and humanity.
I appreciate the specific details provided by the angel in Matthew’s narrative. Otherwise, we might have missed the primary purpose of Jesus’ birth. Without the angel’s words we might have imagined that our sin was not that big of a problem. Without the angel’s words we might have imagined, as many did, that the role of the Messiah was to be a national liberator. Thankfully, the angel leaves no doubt about what we need saving from: “give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).
In the person of Jesus, born two thousand years ago, God powerfully entered into the affairs of humanity. It was a profound interruption in human history; it was interference of the best kind.
While we recognize and celebrate the intervention of God in human history at Christmas, I also want to invite you to think about the intervention of God in your personal history. Has there been a point in your life where you discerned that God was breaking in? Perhaps, even now, you sense His presence. Perhaps, even now, you detect God wanting to intervene—wanting to change the trajectory of your life and to shower you with His grace.
My plea is for you to allow God to “get into your business”. Interference can be a good thing. Interference from God will always be a good thing. This Christmas, and beyond, my encouragement is for you to let God in.