Advent 08 – The Image of God
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:15-20 ESV
For the most part, my memories of Christmas are tied to music. I have shared with you before that George Fredrick Handel’s majestic oratorio, “The Messiah” filled our home as I grew up during Christmas and Easter seasons. My Dad especially loved this music, and he had actually sung it in so many local churches and community chorales that he had memorized most of it!
Hearing that musical floods my soul with memories. But so do many of the other carols we sing at Christmas. Most Christmas music is rich in theological insight (well, maybe not “All I Want for Christmas is You”). But you know what I mean.
Carols emphasize parts of the Biblical narratives of the birth and nature of Jesus that we otherwise may not think enough about. No doubt, you have your favorites, as I do. But some of the most important statements about the person and work of Jesus Christ were also hymns being sung by the early church
One such hymn is found in the Book of Colossians, Chapter 1. It is theologically rich and meaningful as we peel back the layers of this text. While the ESV does not, several translations set these six verses apart to emphasize it is being quoted from another source. Paul was inspired to use hymns in what he was writing in the same way some preachers quote hymns or choruses today.
So, over the next few days as we continue our journey through Advent, why don’t you take some time to read and re-read these verses as an act of worship. Think deeply about the words that describe Christ’s person (“the image of God,” “firstborn of all creation,” “creator of all things”) but also think about words that tell us what He did (“created all things,” “holds all things together,” “reconciler of all things”).
He is your Savior. Your Sovereign. Your Creator. The head of the church. The redeemer.
No wonder the carol asks,
“What Child is This?”