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Our forgetful God

12 December 2021

Our forgetful God

The radical teachings of Jesus continue to change lives today

Words Dean Clarke

I don’t always remember things. I forget messages, where I put my keys, and people’s birthdays. Just after we got married, I purchased personalised number plates with our wedding date to help me remember when to celebrate my marriage and pay my car rego. Sadly, we sold that car, and now when I’m asked for my car’s registration, I have to go and look at the vehicle. As for the wedding anniversary, I have a perpetual reminder in my calendar on that date. However, I don’t always remember to pre-purchase a card.

Did you know that God forgets? Not because his memory is going, but because he chooses to. God chooses to forget the bad things we have done and treats us as good people. That is my meaning of Christmas. The reason why Jesus was born into our world.

There in a stable, sleeping in a feeding trough, lies a baby bundled in cloths. There is no magic aura around this baby. No special glow. At first glance, he looks like any other newborn babe. Except for his first room environment, and that special things happen around him. 

He is visited by shepherds who, at the time, were considered lower class citizens and looked down upon by others. They visited Jesus because they believed him to hold the key to hope and peace for their world. 

Magi, astrologers or wise men, travelled a great distance to bring him gifts as one would a king or person of power. They came to worship Jesus as a person of great significance and influence in their world.

There was something about Jesus that attracted people from across society. Something very special about this Jesus born in a manger.

After his birth, people began to put together the links from Old Testament prophetic scriptures to the life and person of Jesus. Seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah wrote this about Jesus as a baby and about his life: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6 New International Version).

In adulthood, lots of people thought he was special. Crowds would listen to him speak. He gave hope to the depressed, defeated and disillusioned. He taught about the Kingdom of God – a new way of living with its focus on love for all people. Ultimately, Jesus died on a cross. Not because he had committed any crime, but because he wanted to forget and forgive our failings. The book of Ephesians chapter 1, verse 7 says, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins” (New Living Translation).

A lot happens at Christmas time. So much so that it is easy to forget the reason for it all. I am celebrating the gift of hope and forgiveness that came to us as a gift from God in the form of a baby, the baby Jesus. From his birth, through his life and confirmed in his death and resurrection, Jesus showed himself to be special. Unique. And faith in him gives me hope, forgiveness, and a new way of fulfilled living.

I can’t remember my registration, and sometimes I forget where I parked the car, but this I will never forget: Christ came into our world, and this world, my world, is forever changed because of it.

Major Dean Clarke is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) in South Australia.


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