Tuesday, December 8, 2009

That's what Christmas is all about...

Well, here we are with only 17 more shopping days until the big man comes down the chimney with a bound. I feel pretty good about my time line, and the things left to do on my list--quite unusual for me, I have to admit. But while you sit and read this, and ponder how you're going to get your own list done, why don't we revisit the whole reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place? It's good for me, and good for all of us to step back and think about the most important thing we need to do this holiday season, and that's to consider Jesus. Who is He and why was He born? Was He a prophet, a good teacher, or as we Christians believe, is He really God?

December 25th is the holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus was born of a virgin, in the town of Bethlehem. His birth was foretold by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before His birth: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. The religious leaders of his day didn't like that He said He was God, so they conspired with the Roman government to crucify Him. What they didn't know, was that God's plan from the beginning was to send His Son, Jesus, to earth for the specific purpose of dying on the cross, in our place, for our sin. (Rev. 13:8)

Sin isn't a politically correct subject. But the truth is, we're all sinners. Our first parents, Adam & Eve, sinned by disobeying God and following Satan--they decided to be their own god and do what they wanted, instead of what God commanded. And haven't we done the same? Some sins are obvious, like murder and stealing. Other sins are subtle, like pride, arrogance and selfishness. But whether we kill someone or just hate someone, we are all guilty before holy God. And this sin separates us from God. The Bible says that the wages of our sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Yes, we are all deserving of hell--which is a real place with real fire that hurts real bad. So either we need to die for our sin, (and go to hell) or someone needs to die for us (thereby saving us from hell). Jesus did just that. He "bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed." 1 Peter 2:24

Now, some people try to sidestep the whole Jesus thing, and try be good enough for God to accept them, but God says in Isaiah that all our good deeds are like filthy rags to Him. (Isaiah 64:6) In fact, Jesus said Himself, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

The only way we can have a relationship with God is through faith in His Son, Jesus. Think about it--if all we had to do was try to "be good," then why would Jesus come to earth, allow His creation to kill Him and then rise from the dead? No, we are all sinners, in need of a Savior, and Christmas is the day we remember the coming of this Savior--born of a virgin, born for the specific purpose to show us God's love for us by dying in our place, for our sin.

Christmas reminds us that we need Him--we can't save ourselves. No amount of good works is enough to make us good enough. Jesus paid it all. He has made the way to God. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 But as with all gifts, this Gift needs to be received. It is not enough to mentally agree that there is a God and there is a Savior named Jesus. Putting your faith in Him means believing that He died in your place, and then allowing Him to be the Leader of your life.

What does this mean for you? Well, let me ask you: Do you know how wonderful it feels to be free from the guilt of sin? To know that you have a heavenly Father who loves you and will always be with you? To know that you don't have to figure life out by yourself? To have Someone who hears your prayers and can actually do something about your problems? To know Someone who will be there on the other side of this life? To belong to a huge family of other believers in Jesus? That why they call this the Gospel, or Good News!

My hope and prayer is that you would receive God's Gift of salvation, and that you would know in a fresh way what Christmas is all about!

For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11


Gretchen said...

Thank you for this reminder. So succinctly and elegantly put. Pray for that awesome man in my life to grab hold, wouldja? xxxooogjh

Anonymous said...

So wonderfuly written, Jean, like all your other posts. Do you mind if I forward it in e-mail to my friends and family? Lisa

pam said...

Amen and Amen!

Jean said...

Thanks, guys...it's His story--you can send it anywhere you want. :)

Anonymous said...

Let's see how far we can get it! :-) Lisa

Merry Christmas to all of you!

uncle jeff said...

God is good. His ways are perfect; His paths are peace; His love endures forever.

Faith keeps us going - not our sight.

Lord, love this family; love my sister; love Bill; and love all those mother's and father's whose lives are difficult at this time.


pam said...

Gretchen - I sent it to PA and to HOLLAND!!

Lauren said...

Merry Christmas, Jean, to you and your family. May God's many blessings continue to abound in your lives, and may he continue to uphold your strength and grace. -- Lauren