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To talk about Christmas as ‘God’s Great Rescue Plan’ begs the question, ‘What’s the danger? What do we need rescuing from?’ Just as most of us in our area live quite comfortable lives, we can be the same spiritually, not aware of any danger or peril at all.

Recent floods. however, shook us up and made many of us think again: it was bizarre hearing familiar place names like Meadowhall, Bentley and Fishlake make the national news as we experienced heavy rain on 7th November which causes much localised flooding, necessitating the emergency services having to rescue many people from cars or homes. For many, the danger was all too real and the consequences devastating. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said that they had taken more than 2409 emergency calls on 7th November and carried out around 219 rescues, many of them directly related to the flooding.

Spiritually, we are all in need of rescue, for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23) and there is no one righteous, not even one. (Rom 3:10) God sent Jesus to be our rescuer; even His name tells us this, for it means ‘he shall save his people from their sins.’ (Matt 1:21) The baby in the manger at Bethlehem may look an unlikely rescuer, but He is both fully human and fully God (Mary conceived when the Holy Spirit came upon her) and could therefore be the sinless sacrifice for sin.

God’s method of rescue seems odd to us, for Jesus ended up nailed to a cross, suffering humiliation and shame. A dead rescuer doesn ‘t sound like much of a plan, but the story doesn’t end in the stable or even on the cross. God’s great rescue plan included resurrection: the triumph of Jesus over death and the proof that His sacrifice was accepted by God. Jesus now lives for ever, and because of this, we too can have eternal life.