As I come to the “A” in the word Christmas using the word structure from the song made famous by Jim Reeves (C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S), there are not so many Christmas related words. The short list I have includes angel, antlers, artificial tree, and advent. Perhaps there are more, but not on my radar screen.
In the song the “A” includes this line “A is all He stands for”. Each letter in the song has referred to some aspect of the Bethlehem story of the Christ child. With this line, the focus is the theme of who this baby in the manger really is. It may beg the question of what is it He stands for as well.
One of the ways to consider who He is and all He stands for is to consider the names used for Him. What a list it is! Let me list some of the words/terms used for Jesus: the Son, the Babe, the Son of God, I AM, the Alpha and Omega, eternal life, the Word, son of David, a man of sorrows, Savior, the Christ, Lord Jesus, the lamb of God, the Bridegroom, the Way, the Vine, the true Bread from heaven, the Light, the Morning Star, the Rock, the Redeemer, a sure foundation, the last Adam, the Holy One of Israel, and Prince of Peace. This partial list would be longer as well if we included all the names of God.
Our challenge is to acknowledge our vocabulary is inadequate to fully express who He is and what He is and represents. Finite humans have tried for thousands of years in words and songs to communicate this One who changed the world forever at the first Advent and continues to influence its course and the lives of those who believe.
His Second Advent will expand our sense of Him even more.
For so many reasons such as these, when I think of the line in the song that focuses on “A” I believe it stands for complete. Any careful reading of the gospels and epistles provide confirmation of that choice of word. When I tease out a few of the synonyms for the word, complete, it rounds out what I seek to convey. Synonyms like total, entire, full, greatest, maximum, the sum total of, and everything flesh out that word.
Paul’s words in Colossians 1:19 (ESV) speak to that:
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”
Commentators note the word fullness (complete) was used by Paul to remind the Colossians that there was nothing lacking in Christ because the fullness of deity, power, and grace are His. It is clear that only One who was complete could accomplish the will of the Father to bring reconciliation, redemption, and salvation to the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve (you and me). They (we) were forever tainted with the stain of the forbidden fruit that cast them out of the Garden of Eden and into the darkness of their fallenness that was passed on to us all.
Nothing mankind could do could bring about what was needed, no sacrifice we could offer would pay the debt charged to us except One who was already complete, perfect in total. The staggering truth is that once we accept this Babe in the manger, this Jesus, and soon coming King, He makes us complete in Him, through Him, and by Him. Because of Him, His shed blood and perfect sacrifice, His triumph over death and hell, and return to life, our permanent debt (as Jerry Bridges would say) is now paid in full once and forever.
As my writer friend, Susan Chamberlain Shipe recently wrote looking at Luke’s description of Jesus, “Doctor Luke researched, learned, investigated. He found Jesus Christ to be full and complete…”
As we gather this Christmas and consider the story of the birth of Christ and “all He stands for”, let us never cease to be grateful that His love and grace offers to make us complete in Him. He is our “all in all.”
As Paul says in Ephesians 11:36 (ESV):
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”