Guess what, guess what? It’s CHRISTMAS DAY!
I love Christmas. I love the season, I love the lights, I love putting up the tree, I love the Christmas music, I love the gift-getting and giving, and I love being with family. All in all, it’s a season I love.
It’s also a season about love. Well, really, it’s about the Greatest Love the world has ever known. I’m pretty sure most of you know Christmas is somehow, more or less, about the birth of Jesus. (Or is it Santa? Are the two related?) And most of you know various degrees of the story about Jesus. If you’ll indulge me, I wanna tell my side of that story. This is how I understand it:
A really long time ago, God made the world. He made mankind. And early in creation, we chose our own selfish way over God’s. He was perfect and holy, we chose not to be, and we were separated from him. Guess what? That broke God’s heart. He made us to live in close relationship with him, so he made a plan to bring us back to himself. The plan came as a baby, Jesus Christ, born on Christmas. Jesus was God living as a man. He lived the sinless life we could never live and died the death our sins deserve (and that death was for all of us, because all of us have sinned). And when we trust in Jesus, he makes us right with God again. Which means when we die, it’s not really death–we go on to be with God forever.
I can’t explain that whole story above, because it involves a God I can’t explain. I can’t explain how Jesus was both God and both human, but I believe it. I can’t explain why a perfect and holy God would think we are worth saving, but I believe it. So when I think of Christmas, it’s not just about all those great things I listed above. It’s about a mending of humanity. It’s about God taking a fallen world and offering it hope in this life and, even more importantly, for the life to come. It’s about the greatest gift the world has ever known. It’s about the chance to accept the gift that will change your life.
So when I talk about what Christmas means to me, I’m not just talking about lights and presents. I’m talking about a real baby that showed up one night in the arms of a young mother. I’m talking about the man he became, the death he died, the life he gives now. I’m talking about Jesus, the gift from God that has saved my life and my soul.