Once again the world celebrates Christmas. People fervently pray that the Spirit of Christmas will pervade the entire world. In many parts of the world Christmas carolers will stand outside their neighbors’ doors and sing “Silent Night! Holy Night!” Everyone is busily preparing for the holiday season.
Yet, in the midst of this preparation, millions of people miss the real meaning of Christmas.
In the midst of the Christmas rush, Christ is oftentimes left out as we forget that it is His birthday we are celebrating. The precise meaning of that first Christmas is clear: God came to earth in human form. The impact of His birth was so great that calendars were torn up, prejudices were laid aside and people began to walk in newness of life.
Nearly 2,000 years ago the angel revealed to the wondering and trembling shepherds the glorious news that in the city of David “a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NIV). The angel had already announced to Joseph the character of Christ’s Saviorhood: “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, NIV).
The Christmas message is this: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NIV).
Christmas emphasizes the glorious truth that salvation is provided apart from us, that into this sin-cursed world came One whose supreme mission is to save sinners.
The Gift of Forgiveness
We cannot save ourselves because we cannot deliver ourselves from the guilt, the power and the consequences of sin. Those in rebellion against God have no terms of peace to offer that are acceptable to God. Only God Himself can make peace, and this He has done through the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through the merits of Christ’s life and death we are offered full and free forgiveness.
Christmas tells us what it cost God to save the world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16, NIV). Christ is God’s great Christmas Gift to the world: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NIV). Christ does for us what no other has been able to do: He removes our guilt and reconciles us to God.
He raises us from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. He reconciles us to life and to our fellow humans. He implants within us new hopes, new aims, new enthusiasms. He regenerates our affections, our desires and our energies, and He strengthens our wills.
The Gift of Hope
Beautiful, ethical precepts cannot save us, but Christ can. When Christ comes into a life, He revolutionizes it so that the person becomes a “new creation.” This, and this alone, is our hope.
This hope that was given to those shepherds on that first Christmas morning is available only to those who believe. To know the pardon, joy, peace and power that come through Christ, we must personally receive Christ by faith. Faith must be real if our hearts are to be changed. Mere intellectual assent is not enough.
When we have genuine faith in Christ, a change takes place. We will have a new kind of relationship with our families, our employers, our employees and even our enemies.
The Gift of Peace
The Christmas angels praised God and proclaimed peace on earth. It was by and through Jesus Christ that peace was to come to the earth. Scripture says, “He himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14, NIV). All else is confusion, discord and disorder. Jesus Christ is life’s integrator. He is humanity’s harmonizer, the races’ reconciler, the world’s peace-giver: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NIV).
Many of you long for peace in your own hearts this Christmas. You can meet God at the foot of the cross and find the peace that you have sought for so long. You ask, “What do I have to do?” Repent of your sins. By faith receive Christ as your Savior and Lord and Master. Commit your life to Him. He will come into your heart, and this Christmas you can know the Christ of Christmas.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior TODAY. This can be your most meaningful Christmas ever!