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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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 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.
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.
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.