Don’t Miss The Point of Xmas

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Sdon't miss the point of Christmasince Adam and Eve, men and women had been longing for the arrival of the snake crusher. They had been yearning for a deliverer to rescue them from evil. Noah wasn’t able to did it. After the flood, he got drunk and embarrassed his whole family. One of his sons even got cursed because of Noah’s foolishness. Abraham couldn’t do it either, trusting lies and human ingenuity. Moses got mad and smashed the rock. Samson chased pretty girls. David was a murderer. All of the rescuers that God had sent to deliver his people ultimately failed. They had failed to give God’s people rest and peace. And when we come to Luke 2, the people of Israel don’t even have their own ruler. They are under the thumb of the Romans. Instead of liberty, they are captives, political slaves if you will. They needed a deliverer, a savior. And not just from Rome, but from their own hearts. For as Romans 6 says “the wages of sin is death.” This is setting of Christmas is story.  It is one of shattered hopes and never ending waiting.

And then boom, the door opens; the skies literally explode with the glory of God. His angels come with the message, “A Savior, who is Christ the Lord has been born.” The one who will crush the power of the serpent, the one who will liberate all his children from sin, the one who will restore peace has arrived. He bursts into the human story. He left the glories of heaven to come into the world as a little, lowly, baby. He fully identified with us in our sorrow, so that he could perfectly deliver us through his death on the cross. The Lord has come. Our savior has arrived.

Jesus. He is the point of Christmas. If we make Christmas about presents, about family, or about little elves and Santa, we miss the whole point of the holiday. We miss God.

 Jesus didn’t come so that we could have a nice holiday. He didn’t come to give of us earthly happiness. He came to give us peace with God. He came to be the perfect deliverer. He came so that we might be holy. Don’t forget about Jesus. Make time to tell your kids the Christmas story. Make time to worship the incarnate savior, the word become flesh. Don’t miss the point of Christmas! 

Christ the Lord is born today
He came from heaven’s throne
God is born a man today
To bring His children home
To bring His children home

Keeping it Real This Christmas

Keeping It Real This Christmas

“I believe in UPS,” chirped my toddler brother as he took off to answer the door bell. He had heard my father playfully talk about Santa Clause. He had even seen a few packages addressed from Santa put under our large Christmas tree that was adorned with host of ornaments, red bows and candy canes. But as my little brother opened the front door, he was once again greeted with the appearance of a brown clad UPS man, holding cardboard boxes with large black letters. Although the recently arrived packages- as the ones before- would be hurried away to my parent’s upstairs bedroom to be transformed into glorious presents attired with ribbons, soft lace, and pretty bows that radiated light across room, my little brother was still aware of their source. He happily put his trust in the very plain but very real UPS delivery man.

We too must be careful not to become distracted from reality this Christmas season.  Though Christmas stories are very delightful, we must not let the holiday become defined by the stories of a red nosed reindeer, or of a green Grinch with a heart two sizes small, or even of a miser who gives Bob Cratchit that much deserved pay raise. We must remember that the true Christmas story is about Jesus.

Baby Jesus was real just like you and me. He felt the cool damp air of the stable as it flowed across his tiny body. He could smell the freshly laid hay in his crib composed of a musty wooden manger. He heard the sweaty, mud splattered animals neighing. He was struck by the appearance of his first visitors, the shepherds, who were clad in dirty tunics that reeked from days of working under a hot sun. When Jesus was circumcised at the temple, he let out a blood curdling scream! And, he smiled and clapped when he saw the presents that wise men carried. Jesus was really human. The testimony of the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, the Magi and his earthly parents accurately reported the arrival of our Savior. But, what we know about Jesus does not end with his birth.

The apostle John noted this glorious truth in I John 1. He wrote that he and others had, “heard….seen with our eyes… [and] touched with our hands,” the grown Jesus (I John1:1). The apostles heard him lovingly converse with the rich young ruler in their guttural Hebrew dialect. They had seen Christ give life to Jarius’ sick daughter. They let large moist tears drip down their faces as Jesus died on the cross. But oh did they rejoice when they touched the red and purple stained bruises of the risen Jesus. They knew that Christ had come to save them! “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)”. The first witnesses told others about Jesus’ life, hoping that all might find forgiveness and eternal life in the savior who began his life that Christmas morning long, long ago.

Just as my brother recognized that his Christmas packages came from UPS, let us recognize that the true joy of Christmas is found in Jesus Christ our Savior.

“Joy to the World the
Lord has Come! Let earth receive her King!”

This article was first publish in First Baptist Church Fairdale’s advent devotional, December 2010.