The Real Christmas Story…
“Tis the season!” Oh, the season of Christmas is here! There’s something special in the winter air… the season’s greetings, the songs, and yes, even the Bible verses that are brought out with the decorations this one time a year. However, only you know what this season brings to your mind and heart. It might bring joy or sadness, hurt or happiness, grief and stress or inspiration, guilt or gladness. But no matter which it is, Christmas just seems to stir our hearts, doesn’t it?
Could I have a moment of your time? I’m going to be honest, I hope it’s more of a movement rather than just a moment. I would like to share the real Christmas story with you, the real “reason for the season.” Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard that phrase too, and you know it’s Jesus. But, would you please allow me to share with you the real story of Christmas?
My prayer is just that you would really listen to the powerful, life-changing truth of the gospel – the pure, amazing good news that never gets old. Please know that the good news of Jesus is for before Christmas and after Christmas, also. You see, Jesus is for all time! Let’s listen and I pray we hear…
The Story begins with God, the Creator of all things, who looked upon the heavens and the earth that He brought into being and said, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) And you know what? There was light, and it was good! In fact, all that God created in those first six days was good, very good! (Genesis 1:31) And of all the good that God created, God set aside man, Adam and Eve, to be created in the image and likeness of God Himself (Gen. 1:27). We were given a special place in the midst of a beautiful creation.
In the Garden of Eden, our first parents, Adam and Eve, were given just about everything as God’s ambassadors on the earth. But, the Lord laid out one restriction – do not eat the fruit of one particular tree. Tempted by Satan, Eve willingly took some of the fruit and ate it, giving some to her husband who was with her. And with that act of disobedience, sin entered in, and with sin came death (Romans 5:12). Because of our first parents’ sin, we too are sinners deserving death. We willingly do the things we shouldn’t do, and we willingly don’t do the things we should. And, just like Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin, we run to dark places, hiding our sin and shame.
Is there hope for us in our dark, sinful state? We long for hope. Some try to find it in self-help. Some look to other people to give some sense of it. Still others run to the things of this world to ease their hopelessness. In the end, we are still found in need. And we need hope!
But God has provided a great hope – a light that pierces our darkness (John 1:5), a hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5), a hope that saves us. That hope came to us through God’s Son, Jesus.
Jesus, the Light of the world, is God’s salvation to the world. He was born to a virgin maiden named Mary in a cave in the little town of Bethlehem. He would grow up a carpenter’s boy. Then at the age of 30, Jesus would begin His ministry proclaiming the coming Kingdom of God. He taught the heart of the Law, performed miraculous works, healed the sick and the lame, even brought the dead back to life. But, how could He save us?
Jesus is the only way we can be saved and reconciled to God. He lived a life of perfection, which means He did not sin. And He willingly died a death that you and I deserve, because of our sin. He was arrested, accused of blasphemy and insurrection. He was beaten, whipped, and hung on a cross. In all this, He offered Himself as a ransom for you and for me. “God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) And in that sacrifice, God’s justice was satisfied, forgiveness was extended, and hope was granted!
But the story does not end with Jesus on a cross…
The End… The Beginning
Jesus was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. But, on the third day God raised Jesus from the dead, conquering not only sin, but death as well (1 Corinthians 15:55). Through His resurrection, not only is forgiveness of sins offered to us but also eternal life! Through the work of Jesus we’re given a new start, made into new people, changed from the inside out – “the old has passed away, and behold the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) And one day, Jesus our Savior will come again to receive us into a life everlasting in His very presence. He will wipe out every evil and wrong, and He will establish a Kingdom that has no end! And we who have been forgiven will live forever with Him.
Where do you find yourself in this amazing story? Do you know yourself to be lost in the midst of darkness, deserving of the punishment of death and in desperate need of a Savior? Do you feel the weight of your inability to save yourself? Please hear this, today is the day! Repent (which means to turn from your old ways) and believe, confessing Jesus as Lord! He is the hero of your story as well, if you’ll just embrace Him today. Then, talk to a believer; get plugged into a fellowship (a church) that really celebrates Jesus, and grow in your new-found faith. Don’t settle for the half-story of Christmas! Instead, find the joy and the peace and the freedom that comes only through the love and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ!