Charles Wesley wrote some great hymns. One of my favourites has always been “And Can It Be”. One line, of many, which stands out to me is “Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled and died for Adam’s helpless race.” We celebrate the birth of Jesus as the last Adam. He emptied himself to become nothing, mere dust, or earth, like the first Adam. This is the story of the Incarnation.
The world around us changes in a way during this season because people are drawn to the ‘earthy’ way of the first Adam. The feasting and giving and receiving, the partying and nogging, and mistletoeing, all reflect a celebration of the ‘earthy’ kind. We, so easily, get caught up in an Adam-mas as opposed to a Christmas.
It would be easy if I could just point and wag my finger at those people who concentrate on the ‘flesh’ rather than the Word made flesh, but as long as we live we all battle with this tug of war between the flesh and the spirit. If I am not consciously choosing to live out the spiritual life I default to the flesh. If I coast through the day it will be a day patterned after Adam rather than Christ. If I coast through the Christmas season letting the busyness and festivities sweep me along, I will spend a Christmas patterned after Adam rather than Jesus who I say is my pattern.
Years ago I was a rookie evangelist sent to a community in Northern Manitoba. I discovered the wonder and power of Paul’s letter to the Romans. I used to have to sneak off into the bush to get a quiet time during which I studied this marvellous book. The mosquitoes and black flies were so thick that every time I closed the Bible I squashed them. The whole of Romans in that old Bible, which I still have, is covered with blood. This seems so appropriate because Romans tells us the story of Jesus bleeding for Adam’s helpless race, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
Often we talk about the wonder of Christmas. This Christmas I recommend “And Can It Be” as an expression of that wonder. I don’t think anyone has ever said it better than Charles.
Please pray for us at Street Hope as we spend Christmas morning put on a gala breakfast for folks in the inner-city of Saint John, as we share in word and action the wonder of the last Adam, the Word made flesh. May we behold His glory the glory of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.