Can you believe it? Christmas Day is just around the corner! People are buying gifts and are getting ready for big celebrations. But do you know what Christmas is really all about?
Christmas – Christ-mas – Christ’s Mass – is a gathering of people who want to honor the birth of our Lord: Jesus, the Christ. It’s really that simple.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.”
What makes Jesus our Lord? Maybe we should back up and bring in some out-of-this-world history. Let’s read the first three verses in the Gospel of John (NLT).
Verse 14 says, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only [begotten] Son.”
These four verses tell us the Word (who is God) came to earth in the form of Jesus; and Jesus, before he was born as a human, actually created the entire universe. However, when the Word came to earth as Jesus, He continued to be God.
Why did I insert the King James word “begotten”? It’s important because Christians are adopted sons of God, but Jesus was born as the son of God. He was God prior to His human birth, continued to be God in His human existence, and is still God in heaven.
When your baby is born, you remember his/her birth every year – many times with cake, ice cream, and gifts. It’s a way to honor your child and to give him special recognition which helps establish his identity within your family.
But Christmas turns it around. As we honor the birth of Jesus, we are recognizing the fact that God loves us with all His heavenly heart and came to give US a gift: the gift of eternal life. That gives us special recognition and establishes our identity within God’s family.
And that brings us back to Christ’s Mass, or Christmas.
God created man in a perfect, sinless state; but man disobeyed. He sinned. That set the stage for all the rest of humanity to be born in sin. Was that fair? Since that took place well over 5,000 years ago, that’s not our concern. But it was, and is, God’s concern. He didn’t want to lose His special creation, so He activated the plan of redemption.
A sinless being had to die in order to redeem the one who had sinned. God took the life of at least two animals to make clothing to cover Adam and Eve’s sin, or error. That was a foreshadowing or omen of what was to come. Then in Moses’ time, God initiated Pesach, or Passover, to make the proposed plan of redemption more understandable.
All through history, the sacrificial animals had to be without spot or blemish which pointed to the Final Sacrifice who would be without sin. The reason is this: if I died because of my own sin, justice would be served, but there would be no redemption. However, if an innocent person died in my place, justice would still be served, and I would be declared innocent and could go free.
That’s why Jesus entered humanity as a baby. Every person, except Jesus, who ever lived was guilty of sin, so someone needed to come who was perfectly innocent: without spot or blemish. Only God was without sin, so only He could be the sacrifice to atone for everyone’s sin, which could set us free.
So God, the Word, entered humanity. He was given the name of Johoshua, which means God is salvation He grew up and experienced pain, mockery, and rejection as a child. He was tempted in every way man can be tempted, and suffered the most gruesome, torturous death man could experience. Yet He never sinned. Jesus was that perfect, spotless sacrifice for you and me to save us from an eternal separation from God.
Oh yes, there is one condition: I have to agree with God that I am not perfect, that I am guilty of breaking His law, and that I need to be redeemed.
So, I acknowledged my sin, asked God to forgive me, and purposely turned from a life of sin. Therefore, I am forgiven. You can be forgiven, too.
That is what Christmas is all about.
The shepherds welcomed Jesus (God) as a baby. The Wise Men welcomed Jesus (God) as a child. You and I need to welcome Jesus (God) as our Savior.
I wish you a Joyful, a Blessed, and a Merry Christmas.