- Good News Editor
The Christmas Love Story
This time every year, the world grinds to a halt. Even the most ambitious businesses allow the train to slow down.
The joy and spirit of the season is ubiquitous, lavish, and colourful.
For many, it is just a season; there is no thought for the "Person" or the story behind the season.
Imagine showing up at a party, fully dressed for the occasion, and with a gift in hand, but you have no idea who the celebrant is.
Or worse still, the celebrant is that neighbour or colleague you don't get along with, and with whom you are not planning to mend things up anytime soon.
A Saviour is born
Christmas is not a cultural event or merely something from the history books. It is an acknowledgement of one birth that changed the eternal destiny of mankind.
Christmas is a reminder of the truth and significance of the birth of Jesus.
Jesus's birth was prophesied about 700 years before He came along.
It was not a random event but a carefully thought-out divine plan to redeem humanity from sin and judgement.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God is with us).
A young virgin was the chosen vessel to carry this special Baby. But her espoused husband would not easily accept that uncomfortable situation.
God paid him a visit while he slept, and said to him:
“...do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:20-21, NLT).
Joy to the world
The prospect of redemption from condemnation is good news for anybody on death row.
The birth of the Saviour brings joy. This birth cannot be muted or subsumed in cultural narratives.
On the day the Baby was born, God assigned an Angel to spread the news around the neighbourhood:
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
(Luke 2: 10-11, NLT).
Why do we need a Saviour?
Jesus is "the word" that God spoke creation into existence, according to the gospel of John (John 1:1).
God's creation was complete and certified "very good" by God Himself (Genesis 1:31).
Man as the flagship of all creation was in complete submission to God and maintained perfect harmony and unbroken fellowship with God.
Then things went wrong in the garden and Man that was designed to dominate through dependence on God willingly gave up that power he had with God and chose the path of disobedience.
Psalm 14 verses 2 and 3 (NLT) declare:
The Lord looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.
But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!
The Sin of disobedience and the resultant separation from God opened the doors to pain, suffering, death, misery, and destruction.
When Man renounces God as Lord and Master, he unwittingly becomes a slave to sin and the devil. Unfortunately, the devil is a bad master whose corporate mission statement is: steal, kill, and destroy.
The last scene in Eden was the beginning of hostilities between man and the devil (Genesis 3:15). In this war, Man does not stand a chance.
But the love in God's heart could not let go.
The Sacrificial Lamb
Sin is punishable by death and the untold misery that precedes it. Therefore, redeeming Man will be costly.
The blood of animals had served as a make-shift tool of atonement for generations before Jesus's birth.
According to the Mosaic law, nearly everything must be purified by blood.
Therefore, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
(Hebrews 9:22 NLT).
The only solution would be a sacrifice - a better and everlasting one. Therefore, God presented His own Son as “a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) - to redeem Man once and for all.
But there was one challenge.
The Lamb cannot shed His blood for the redemption of Man while seated in Heaven.
A celestial body would never atone for sins of the flesh. Same reason even Angels were not qualified to execute this redemptive mission.
The Saviour had to be made in "the likeness of sinful flesh".
Nothing less will do.
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.
(Rom. 8:3, KJV).
This is how it reads in plain language:
He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
(Romans 8:3, NLT)
God had to come as a man to pay the highest price to redeem Man.
Roy Hession, in his 1958 book titled "We Would See Jesus", declared:
To create, God had but to speak, and it was done. But to redeem, He had to bleed.
What a price to pay for love!
Christmas is a love story
Following the fall of man in Eden, every man born of a woman carries a spiritual death sentence. The Tree of Life had become inaccessible. The garden that used to be a place of fellowship between God and Man had turned to a heavily guarded garrison (Genesis 3:24).
A wall of separation had been created between God and Man.
But God would not give up on his creation.
For God so loved the world (you and I) that he gave his only Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 3:16).
This is how God chose to demonstrate his love to a world that had become estranged to Him. He sent in his one and only Son to die for our sins so that we might have eternal life through Him (1 John 4:9).
Think about this for a moment.
God loved you, and still does, even when you don't even like Him.
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
(1 John 4:10 NLT).
What greater love can someone show than to send his own Son to give His life in exchange for the lives of strangers?
The question for you is this:
Do you want to remain a stranger. Or would you respond to and celebrate this great love that God has for you?
We should celebrate
We should celebrate fulfilment of prophesy:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 KJV).
He came to execute the redemption plan for all of humanity, and today, we all have access to God the Father through the Son.
At last, we don't need those giant temples with their thick veils separating us from the Holy of holies. Certainly, we don't need priests to be our go-between with God. Saints, dead or alive have no role in showing us the way to God. More importantly, we don't need that bloody business of animal sacrifices that turned the temple into a shopping mall and a “den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13).
Once we believe in the Son Jesus, we have direct access to the throne room of the Father.
This is worthy of celebration.
Jesus came so that we can be adopted into the family of God. He is image of the invisible God and the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15).
Heaven came down to earth so that mortality can give way to immortality. The immortality that was lost in Eden is restored because Jesus, the Immortal One has offered eternal life to all humanity.
Death has nothing on the redeemed Man whose "new life" has been purchased by the blood of the one called "the first to rise from the dead" (Revelation 1:5).
This why we celebrate. It’s all about Jesus!
Jesus is the chief celebrant. Jesus is the chief host. Jesus is the Christ in Christmas.
Finally, note this:
You cannot attend this party while all the time ignoring the celebrant.
You cannot continue to mock and slap the celebrant while enjoying His party.
You cannot bypass the celebrant by treating Christmas as a cultural holiday, or "the winter holiday".
Let's celebrate the "Person" who is the reason for the season - our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.