Relationships are messy, and they take hard work. One member inevitably does something to cause a rift between him or her and their friend, co-worker, or spouse at some point during the relationship. This rift can only be mended through apologizes and forgiveness. Just like this, Man’s relationship with God is messy and complicated. The rift between us and God is caused by sin and cannot be mended by a simple apology. Sinning against a righteous, holy God eternally separates us from Him. In order to be reconciled with God, Man needs someone who can both live the Law perfectly and relate to us as humans.
Only God Can Fix It
Though God does not need us, He wants a relationship with us. God created Man in His image to display His glory. When God created Adam and Eve, the three of them had perfect relationships with each other. No separation or rift or tension existed. One day Adam and Eve distrusted that God knew what was best for them and disobeyed Him to follow their own will. Their disobedience caused a chasm between Man and God that affects all of Creation and that cannot be crossed with anything or any action that humans possess or perform. God is holy, and disobeying God (sinning) makes humans unholy and unable to in a right relationship with Him.
That’s the bad news. 😦
The good news is that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection reconciles us with God. He fixed the problem of sin by leaving heaven, being born as a baby, fully human and fully God, to live a sinless, human life and to die for human sin. Jesus paid our debt in full, redeeming us from the punishment we rightly deserve. What great news of incredible joy!
This is what Christmas is all about: Celebrating the birth of our Savior, Christ the Lord, who redeems all believers from the punishment of their sins. Through His life and death, Christ provides reconciliation, restoring the relationship between God and Man, a feat no human could ever accomplish. This reconciliation completely changes a believer, provides peace to all things, and creates a unified Church with Jesus as its head. What great news! What an amazing God! That He would leave heaven and be born as a baby so that He could live a perfect life and die for sin! That’s worth celebrating!
All too often I hear someone ask, “Did you have a good Christmas?” meaning “Did you get what you wanted…did you get to visit everyone you wanted to…did your kids wake up happy…did you have good stuff to eat?” But the standard of having “a Christmas” shouldn’t be what you or your kids get. It should be “did you have a great celebration of the Savior’s birth…are you now filled with joy and hope…did you get the opportunity to show love to others?”
Christmas Celebration Tips for Focusing on Jesus
- Don’t make Christmas all about presents and goodies and events. You might be thinking, “I don’t. My kids know it’s about Jesus.” But there’s a difference in saying “I know what Christmas is really about” and truly living it. Your demeanor, language, priorities, and gift giving all communicate what you really believe about Christmas.
- Make a plan to read about Christ’s birth in the days leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve read Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6-7, Morning read Luke 2, and the day after (26th) read Matthew 2:1-12. Focus your conversation about Christmas on God’s story of redemption that began in the Garden, climaxed with the life and death of Jesus, and will end with His return.
- Watch a movie about Christ’s birth. The Nativity Story is great for older kids and up. The Star is cute for younger kids.
- Be intentional with gift giving. Refrain from asking your kids, spouse, or friends what they want for Christmas. This is a hard one for me because I always want to give good gifts that my people want. And it may not be one you can apply this year with there only being eight days until Christmas. But not asking your kids or others what they want helps them focus more on what Christmas is really about. In the months leading up to Christmas, listen to what your loved ones say they wish they had or things that they want. Make a note about them and buy two or three of them.
- Ask other Christian families how they celebrate. A great idea I once heard from a Sixth St. Kids parent was that her family only gives their kids three gifts: something they want, something they need, and something they can read or watch. Another comes from a kid in my ministry whose family buys gifts for a family in need, wraps them, and delivers them before Christmas Day. Other ideas include attending a Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day service at a local church, volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter, or cleaning out your closet and toy bins to give away gently used items.
In Colossians, Paul writes, “And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh [which He took on at His birth] by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him.” This is why we celebrate Christmas, because without the coming of Christ we would be hopelessly separated from God.
The good news of great joy for all people is that the Savior came and will one day come again. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased! Christ the Lord has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. All honor and glory and praise to Him.
Let’s celebrate! Merry Christmas!