“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
Philippians 3:20-21 NASB
It is not uncommon for a conversation to make its way to the question, "So where are you from?" It so a common theme among people who want to get to know each other to ask historical questions to try to gain understanding about a person. Often our own knowledge of a place helps us center that person into a sphere of understanding for us and it helps us place a level of value on that understanding. However the question can be aa tricky one.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California but I lived in Las Vegas NV. for 15 years and have now lived in Central Florida for almost the same amount of time. Each of those places can conjure up ideas, pictures, and opinions in people and so the question of, “Where are you from?" can be hard to answer sometimes. It is pretty hilarious to see the different reactions from people when you say you are from a certain place like Las Vegas, NV., since there can be so many mixed feelings about that place and so many different understandings about it.
The same held true when I have traveled internationally. Very few know the places where I have lived, but what they were interested in was my citizenship in the United States. Most people I met were infatuated with the ideas they had about the promises of the USA, and although I am aware of how hard it can be to live here, to witness the hardships of their lives elsewhere gave me a great sense of gratitude for my US citizenship. At the end of my trip, I got to go home there. It was a humbling idea at the time, especially in parts of the world where I witnessed abject poverty and realized how truly blessed I was to be from the US.
But Paul reminds us that our citizenship is actually eternal. It transcends where we have lived here on Earth and when we have known while we lived here. It is a citizenship that supersedes all other citizenships. It is our true home. Jesus being born is like a living letter from that home. He represents a world that always has been and always will be, He represents a world that is not inhibited by time and sin, He is from a place where everything is perfect and the reign of God is synonymous with the very existence of the world itself. We awaited that Savior to be sent here to redeem us and we now await the return of that same Savior to finish the fullness of the redemption that He began by being born and then suffering, dying, and rising again.
Our being and our doing, then, become symbiotically connected to His being and doing. So as we approach Christmas, let's be careful to remember that Christmas is not about merely a gift that was given to us for our redemption, but a gift that, when received, redeems us from our sins, and secures the reality of our citizenship in Heaven with our Savior. Their is a great mount of power in the arrival, but the power of the arrival is truly meted out in our reception of that arrival and the dedication of our lives to His being and doing. For we must always remember that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
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