Christmas Is About Grace

We will often fail to live out our faith in Jesus and stumble in our walk with Him.   We won’t always love Him most, love others best, and love rightly all the rest. Instead, we will make ourselves the center of our lives, make self-serving decisions as we plan our lives, and ultimately make a mess out of our lives.  That. Is. Why. There. Is. Christmas.  Christmas is about a gift of God’s Son, a gift of forgiveness, a gift of transformation, a gift of eternal life, a gift of happiness in God.  God gave to us and gives to and will continue to give to us. Christmas is about grace.  God’s grace.  Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Christmas Shines Brightly With God’s Ultimat …

The point of everything is to point to our glorious God in Whose presence there is fullness of joy and pleasure forever. The Scripture stories of Christmas are ripe with this…  Great joy.  Peace on earth.  Light shining in darkness.  Salvation from sin.  A forever kingdom.  Everlasting life. A Savior. A Reigning King. A Son of the Most High. Christ the Lord.  Immanuel.  Glory to God in the highest.  Christmas shines brightly with God’s ultimate purpose:  that He be honored in us and we be happy in Him.  Until Jesus returns, let us return to our everyday lives knowing… God is with us.  God is for us.  God is to be glorified through us.

The Broken Made Whole

Jewelry breaks.  Toys break.  Electronics break.  You and I break.  God made us in His image, but our sin fractured our likeness to Him and our relationship with Him.  But Christmas is for the broken.  God loves the broken.  He sent Jesus for the broken.  The Son of God came to do what we could not do, and die for what we could not do, perfectly bear the image of God. When we put our faith in Him, He puts His Spirit in us changing us forever. Rejoice today! For the Christ Child left the manger and made His way to the cross where the Christmas Gift of God’s Son was broken for the broken so that we could be made whole.

What God Is Really Like

People have all kinds of ideas in their heads about God, and these ideas, right or wrong, shape how we view the world and influence how we live in it.  When Jesus came to live in this world with us, He made it possible for us to know what God is really like.  He displayed God’s character, heart, authority, holiness, righteous anger, grace and love for all to see.   In looking at Jesus, a few things we see are… Rebuke, authority and truth for the rebellious and self-righteous.  Forgiveness, compassion and peace for the broken and repentant.  Joy, hope and strength for the followers and the faithful.  Love.  For.  Everyone.

O Come Let Us Proclaim Him

Many people celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ.  They love the gifts and the decorations and the food and the music and the sentiment and the gatherings and the movies, but they don’t love Jesus.  Instead of spending the season adoring Him, they spend the season ignoring Him.  That’s why we are sent on a mission to tell the world about Jesus, in hope that they will also see His beauty and majesty and generosity.  We are to invite others into our joy and into our worship.  Therefore, let us use every gift-exchange and gathering to point people to Jesus. O come let us adore Him.  O come let us proclaim Him.

Jesus Was Born So We Can Be Born Again

We try to ignore it.  We try to downplay it.  We try to run from it.  We try to overcome it.  But no matter what we do, we cannot change reality:  this world is undeniably broken.   What we see is the inevitable ruin that comes when we do what is right in our own eyes and do what feels good over what God says is good.   We need… A Hero to save the day.  A Liberator to set us free.  A Healer to make us whole.  A Satisfier to make us content.  A Ruler to reign over us for good.  A Savior to save us from our sins.  Rejoice! Christmas announces that new life can be ours through faith.  Jesus was born so we can be born again!

From How Can This Be To Let It Be

How freeing it is to embrace with confidence that God has allowed some things into our lives and other things to be missing from them for a reason that is good.  Even if we have no idea what that reason is.  Or how it can possibly be for good. God is always doing much more in, for, around and through those who trust Him.  Mary trusted.  Joseph trusted.  We must trust that the unexpected, unexplainable things God has for us are unbelievably good.  He knew what He was doing in their lives; He knows what He is doing in our lives. Christmas reminds us that faith in what God says turns our “how can this be” into “let it be.”

From Heaven To Earth, From Earth To Heaven

From heaven to earth.  From a manger to a cross.  From suffering to victory. Christmas begins an epic story of how far Jesus would travel, and how hard His journey would be, to bring us back into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.  His story births our stories where every step is assured because of His faithfulness to do the Father’s will to get us safely home to be with Him, where praise and pleasure never end. Christmas reminds us Who Jesus is, why He came, and where He is taking those who trust Him.  Jesus came from heaven to earth to make a way for sinners like you and me to go from earth to heaven.

Christmas Is A Declaration Of War

Christmas is a declaration of war on everything that separates us from God and the life with Him that we were meant to enjoy now and forever.  God sent Jesus to disarm and defeat sin, Satan and death so we can be forgiven and freed.  Then, He equips us with the armor of God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God to empower us as we fight our battles against temptation, secure in the truth that Jesus has already secured our victory.  Until Jesus comes again to give us final deliverance from it, we expect, endure, hate, expose, resist and overcome evil, but we do not give up in our fight against it.

Our Hope Is Simply Jesus

Every belief, action, fact, event, spoken word, attitude and outcome has one. There is a reason for all things (a basis, cause, explanation or motive).  Christmastime and Christianity are based on this one:  Jesus is the reason for the season and the reason for our hope.  Not favorable conditions.  Not an optimistic outlook.  Not our resources or connections.  Simply Jesus.  Let us revere Him in our hearts! Here is our hope:  Jesus came to liberate us from sin and its deadly consequences and to lead us to life and its eternal pleasures. We can know that good things are in our future because of the good news of Jesus.

He Went Through It For You

When Jesus took on flesh to dwell among us, He didn’t insulate Himself from the ugliness, brokenness and sinfulness of this world.  Life on earth for Jesus was filled with the same things we deal with:  difficult people, difficult circumstances, difficult tasks and difficult experiences.  What He did was suffer with us through His birth and life, and secure for us deliverance from suffering through His death and resurrection.  Take heart today and trust the One who understands, cares and gives you hope. He doesn’t just know what you are going through. He didn’t just go through it too. He went through it for you.

A Christmas Gift For Jesus

What does Jesus want for Christmas? It’s not our begrudging submission, reluctant giving, half-hearted worship, indifferent service, or lukewarm affection.  These may be costly gifts, but they do not shine, and they are not sweet-smelling to our King.  What Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to get what we want for Christmas:  full and lasting joy that comes from a heart that worships Him.  He gets the honor He deserves and we get the happiness we desire.  Therefore, let us seek Him more than all other things, for He will satisfy us more than all other things.  Jesus doesn’t just want our treasure; He wants to be our treasure.

He Is The Gift

To receive the gift of God’s Son is to also get countless blessings and benefits from being in a relationship with Him.  But let’s be clear about one thing:  if you want what Jesus can do for your life but don’t want Jesus in your life, you won’t receive Him or His blessings.  Listen… He’s not just useful, He’s beautiful.  He’s not just resourceful, He’s delightful. He’s not just helpful, He’s wonderful.  Don’t you see?  Jesus doesn’t just give us gifts; He is the gift.  Being together with Him is the most precious gift He gives to us.  And the more time we spend in His presence, the more beautiful, delightful and wonderful He becomes to us.

Christmas Is For Stuck People

Christmas is for stuck people.  People who are stuck in the past with its haunting reminders of what they have done.  People who are stuck in the present with an endless cycle of never-quite-satisfied searching for happiness.  People who are stuck in fear of the future with its paralyzing grip that prevents them from doing meaningful things. But here is good news: Jesus came to free stuck people like you and me.  He was born to die for our sin.  He was born to bring us a better joy.  He was born to secure our eternity.  Praise Jesus!  He has stripped sin of its power and clothed us in His perfection to the glory of His Name.

Receiving The Gift Of God’s Son

What does it really mean for someone to receive a gift?  It means that the gift has had its intended effect in the life of the one to whom it was given.  The gift wasn’t ignored, but rather was worn, admired, eaten, enjoyed, watched, sprayed on, driven, listened to, put to work or played with.  Truly, an unused gift is an unreceived gift.  That’s why some people become believers and some do not. They are either changed by what is offered in Jesus, or they live as if He isn’t even there.  How can we know if we have received the gift of God’s Son?  We obey, share, trust, serve, enjoy, worship and love Jesus.  We do not ignore Him.

Christmas Is A Broken String Of Lights To Many

Christmas is a broken string of lights for many of us.   It’s there, but it doesn’t seem to do what it’s supposed to do.  It’s bleak, not bright.  It’s melancholy, not merry.  This time of year is disappointing and depressing for a lot of people for a lot of reasons.  We’re a broken people in a broken world where there is much that is not as it ought to be.  But there is hope for us, because Jesus came for the very reason so many struggle in this season … to fix what has been fractured in us and our world.   As we wait for this to happen, let us turn to Him in our present darkness and ask Him to shine His everlasting light in our hearts.

It’s Not About Me, It’s Not About You

This time of year is not about me.  And it’s not about you.  Yet, it’s easy to make it about us, isn’t it?  We can get caught up in what we enjoy about, what we receive because of, and what we get to do during Christmastime and spend very little time getting caught up with Christ.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year not because of the festive music, favorite movies, familiar decorations or family traditions that can rightly be a part of our holiday experience; it’s a time of celebration and jubilation and exaltation of Jesus.  This year, may everything that is wonderful about Christmas make us full of wonder about Christ.

Your Hope Is That He Already Has

It is easy to lose hope when we lose a loved one, lose a job, lose a battle, lose control, lose our health or lose our way, but there is a sure and steadfast hope that is ours if we believe. This hope isn’t some self-created positive attitude that things will turn out the way you envision in your head; it is a Spirit-produced confidence in the faithfulness of Immanuel to keep His promises that is settled in your heart.  He has been with you all along.  He is with you even now.  He will be with you always.  Your hope isn’t in your ability to figure out how to make it work out in the end; your hope is confidence that He already has.

He Lowered His Son For Us

God demands we be perfect in order to go to heaven, declares none of us are perfect and therefore are condemned to hell, and then delivers us by sending Jesus to take our imperfections and be our perfection so we can have everlasting life.  Here’s what won’t get you into heaven: your effort at trying to be good enough.  Here’s what will get you into heaven: Jesus. Trust Him, and everything changes!  We were… Lost, but now found.  Bankrupt, but now rich.  Condemned, but now pardoned.  Enslaved, but now free.  Dead, but now alive.   Rejoice! God didn’t lower His standards for us; He lowered His Son for us.

For Our Sake

Jesus willingly exchanged all the wealth of His deity for the poverty of His humanity when He came to dwell on earth.  Why?  For. Our. Sake. We couldn’t live up to God’s standards, so Jesus lived perfectly for us.  We couldn’t break free from sin, so He set us free.  We couldn’t atone for our transgressions, so He died in our place.  We couldn’t defeat death, so He conquered the grave so we too will rise. We couldn’t earn an eternal retirement, so He paid for our inheritance.  We have become rich through the finished work of Jesus.  And long before it was finished at Calvary, it was started in Bethlehem.  For our sake.