As this Christmas season is fast approaching, I’m sure most of you reading this are dealing with a lot of stress.
People of all ages are finishing Christmas shopping (not me – I just let the wife handle that!). Or, if you are like the bachelor me of 4 years ago, you might just now be starting your shopping! Regardless, this is definitely a season in which chaos is abounding. Shopping, wrapping, decorating, planning road trips, cleaning house for your family – all of these things simultaneously along with all of your regular responsibilities.
With a lot going on, sometimes it’s easy to forget something very important that this Christmas season represents. I know, it’s the cheesy “don’t forget about the real meaning of Christmas” blog again. But in all seriousness, I want to encourage you this year to remember three very important details of the Christmas holiday.
1. We need a savior
For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. – Romans 3:23
And the person who keeps all the laws except one is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God’s laws. – James 2:10
Each and every one of us has fallen short of the requirement of the law. God has a standard that He expects of us – perfection – and it is perfectly justified because of His holiness. With God, there are only two categories: perfect and imperfect. As the scripture above states, if we have broken even just one of the laws, we are imperfect and fall short of God’s standard. If we are not holy as He requires, we cannot be in His presence.
But there’s more to the story…
2. Our promised savior has come.
The savior – yes, the Messiah, The Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! – Luke 2:11
More than 700 years prior to the night of Jesus’s birth, a prophet by the name of Isaiah wrote of this coming Messiah:
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – meaning ‘God is with us.’ – Isaiah 7:14
Something that was promised for nearly a millennium is now taking place in Bethlehem! You have to understand what is taking place here. This is physical evidence of the faithfulness of God. He promised it, and it is happening!
In the Old Testament, the people of Israel knew that God was no one to be messed with. Only the high priest was allowed into His presence in the tabernacle, yet now, the Messiah is here to live and walk among them. Immanuel, God is with us.
Ultimately, He came to reconcile you and I back to Him – so that all may have access to Him and feel His presence, not just the high priest. He accomplished that when He died the sinner’s death on the cross on behalf of you and me.
We know this when we go back to Romans 3 and read on…
For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus who has freed us by taking away our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are MADE RIGHT with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when He did not punish those who sinned in former times. And He is entirely fair and just in this present time when He declares sinners to be right in HIs sight because they believe in Jesus. – Romans 3:23-26
What wonderful news! But please, don’t just keep it to yourself!
3. Be open with others. Share this wonderful news you have.
We are commissioned in Matthew 28 to share the good news of the gospel with the world and to make disciples of the nations. It’s time that we start doing that. Be a light to the world this Christmas season. Share the wonderful news of Jesus with those around you.
In the midst of all the Christmas madness, please don’t forget these things. Sure, shop for your family. But be friendly to your cashiers. Love your family when they come to visit, even if they aren’t your favorite people (sounds harsh – but we all feel it…). Ultimately, be filled with JOY because of what Christ has done for you. There is no greater joy.