A few Christmas’ ago my brother was deployed with the Air Force during the holiday season. My family still had all of the same traditions. We watched Christmas movies, had our famous Christmas Eve buffet with a great assortment of shrimp and fresh Texas tamales, and sang the Twelve Days of Christmas in rounds. We also did everything possible to include my brother in our celebration. We called him on Christmas Eve and then video chatted with him on Christmas morning. But try as hard as we might, there was no substitution for his presence. We could not play games with him, talk to him over our cups of steaming hot chocolate, or hug him as we happily gathered around our Christmas tree to open presents. He was greatly missed
However, separation is not limited to the realm of family and friends this Christmas. The holiday is concerned with a much larger separation. In Isaiah 59:1-20, we learn that we have been separated from God. The prophet wrote, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God and your sins have hidden him from you so that he does not hear (59:2).” You see the God of the Bible is a holy and a pure God. He cannot tolerate sin. Now according to Genesis 2, God made the first humans pure like him and they lived in happiness. But, they sinned against God. Consequently, all their offspring- including you and me- follow the pattern of our first parents. We sin. Consequently, we separate ourselves from God. Now everyone wants to be right with God and to feel good about their actions. We try to do good things. Perhaps, we carry an elderly woman’s bags to her car, or we finally clean our rooms, or at Christmas we try to be extra nice to everybody for the whole twenty-four hours. But we cannot erase or escape our sins. Isaiah noted “Our transgressions are with us (59:12b).” Just as my family could not bring my brother home for Christmas that year, we cannot wipe away our sins. We cannot bridge the gap between us and God. We need a savior!
The great news is that God did not leave us alone. He saw that there was no person who could save sinners. He had mercy on us! He declared that a ‘Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgressions” (59:20a). He made a way for men and women to come back to God. If we flee from our sins and cling to God we will be saved. The Redeemer will reconcile us to God, paying the penalty for our sin and making us white as snow!
Today we celebrate the Christmas because it tells of how Jesus came to be that redeemer by being born as a little baby. It reveals that there is hope for all. If you do not know Christ, I encourage you to put your faith in him by repenting of your sins. Talk to your pastor or to other godly men and women. Ask them about how to end your separation from God.
If you have the joy of knowing Christ, continue to flee from sin. Remember that your sin harms your relationship with God. Jesus came on that cold Christmas morning long ago so that we might be right with God. Use this Christmas season to purify your life. Indentify sins and repent of them. Ask others to keep you accountable. But most importantly, rejoice that the separation from God is over! A redeemer has come!