As you know, Christmas is the holiday that remembers the birth of Jesus. But who was Jesus? He was the divine Son of God who had lived for eternity past before He took on human flesh and entered this world as a baby of two humble parents named Joseph and Mary. For God to become man was certainly a mind-boggling miracle. Not even the angels could understand it. Much less can we. But why celebrate His coming? What’s the big deal?
Because He came to solve the greatest problem of the human race, the problem of sin. God made man so that He would have someone to love, and someone to love Him. But man turned away from God and refused to return love for love. Man chose instead to love himself. God had given man the unique gifts of a loving heart and a thinking mind and a worshipful spirit, but man corrupted these for selfish purposes. Man embarked on a life of rebellion. So ungrateful was he to his Creator that far from giving God the love He wanted and deserved, He spat upon God’s righteousness. The theme that man chose for his miserable life away from God was sin.
Yet God did not cease loving man. He still wanted man’s company forever, but how could He bring a naughty child into the majestic courts of heaven? It was necessary to change man. The first step in His program was to remove man’s guilt for preferring evil to good. Here was the reason for Jesus’ entry into this world. He came to live a perfect life leading to death on a cross so that He might pay the penalty for man’s sin. He became our substitute, taking the punishment for all of man’s sin, the whole ugly heap from one end of history to the other, compounded of every misdeed done by every person everywhere, so that no human being need face divine wrath and judgment. After Jesus’ death on a cross, God offered each of us, you and me, total forgiveness for totally everything wrong with us. All we must do to receive forgiveness is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
The second vital step in God’s program for changing man was to fill each believer in Jesus with the Holy Spirit, a third divine person besides God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit enables us to make good choices, to walk with joy along the path of obedience rather than with frustration along the path of rebellion.
Life along the path of obedience is the only kind that yields true happiness. Why would you choose anything else? Let God be your Master and Jesus be your Savior and the Holy Spirit be your guide, and you will receive real life and life abundant, a life purposeful instead of meaningless, full instead of empty, marked by hope rather than despair, always better instead of always downhill, opening to life forever instead of crumbling at last into death forever.
© 2017 Stanley Edgar Rickard (Ed Rickard, the author). All rights reserved. If you would like to use this reading in a Christmas program, see terms and conditions of use.