What Christ­mas is all about

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - Gene Linzey

Can you be­lieve it? Christ­mas Day is just around the cor­ner! Peo­ple bought gifts and are get­ting ready for big cel­e­bra­tions. But do you know what Christ­mas is re­ally all about?

Christ­mas — Christ­mas — Christ’s Mass — is a gath­er­ing of peo­ple who want to honor the birth of our Lord: Je­sus, the Christ. It’s re­ally that sim­ple.

What makes Je­sus our Lord? Maybe we should back up and bring in some out-of-this-world his­tory. Let’s read the first three verses in the Gospel of John (NLT).

“In the be­gin­ning the Word al­ready ex­isted. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He ex­isted in the be­gin­ning with God. God cre­ated ev­ery­thing through him, and noth­ing was cre­ated ex­cept through him.”

Verse 14 says, “So the Word be­came hu­man and made his home among us. He was full of un­fail­ing love and faith­ful­ness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Fa­ther’s one and only [be­got­ten] Son.”

These four verses tell us the Word (who is God) is Je­sus; and Je­sus ac­tu­ally cre­ated the en­tire uni­verse; and when the Word came to earth as Je­sus, He con­tin­ued to be God.

Why did I in­sert the King James word “be­got­ten”? It’s im­por­tant be­cause Chris­tians are adopted sons of God, but Je­sus was born a son of God. He was God prior to His hu­man birth and con­tin­ued to be God in His hu­man ex­is­tence.

When your baby is born, you re­mem­ber his/her birth ev­ery year: many times with cake, ice cream, and gifts. It’s a way to honor your child and to give him spe­cial recog­ni­tion which helps estab­lish his iden­tity within your fam­ily.

But Christ­mas turns it around. As we honor the birth of Je­sus, we are rec­og­niz­ing the fact that God loves us with all His heav­enly heart, and came to give US a gift: the gift of eter­nal life. That gives us spe­cial recog­ni­tion which helps estab­lish our iden­tity within God’s fam­ily.

And that brings us back to Christ’s Mass, or Christ­mas.

God cre­ated man in a per­fect, sin­less state; but man dis­obeyed. He sinned. That set the stage for all the rest of hu­man­ity to be born in sin. Was that fair? Since that took place over 5,000 years ago, that’s not our con­cern. But it was, and is, God’s con­cern. He didn’t want to lose His spe­cial cre­ation, so He ac­ti­vated the plan of redemp­tion.

A sin­less be­ing had to die in or­der to re­deem the one who had sinned. God took the life of two an­i­mals to cover Adam and Eve’s sin or er­ror. That was a fore­shad­ow­ing or omen of what was to come. Then in Moses’ time, God ini­ti­ated Pe­sach, or Passover, to make the pro­posed plan of redemp­tion more un­der­stand­able.

All through his­tory, the sac­ri­fi­cial an­i­mals had to be with­out spot or blem­ish which pointed to the Fi­nal Sacri­fice who would be with­out sin. The rea­son is this: if I died be­cause of my own sin, jus­tice would be ad­dressed, but there would be no redemp­tion. How­ever, if an in­no­cent per­son died in my place, jus­tice would still be ad­dressed and I would be de­clared in­no­cent and could go free.

That’s why Je­sus en­tered hu­man­ity as a baby. Ev­ery per­son, ex­cept for Je­sus, who ever lived was guilty of sin, so some­one needed to come who was per­fectly in­no­cent: with­out spot or blem­ish. Only God was with­out sin, so only He could be the sacri­fice to atone for ev­ery­one’s sin, which could set us free.

So God, the Word, en­tered hu­man­ity as baby Je­sus. He grew up, ex­pe­ri­enced pain, mock­ery, and re­jec­tion as a child, was tempted in ev­ery way man can be tempted, and suf­fered the most grue­some, tor­tur­ous death man could ex­pe­ri­ence. Yet He never sinned. Je­sus be­came that per­fect, spot­less sacri­fice for you and me and saved us from an eter­nal sepa­ra­tion from God.

Oh yes, there is one con­di­tion: I have to agree with God that I am not per­fect, that I am guilty of break­ing His law, and that I need to be re­deemed.

So, I ac­knowl­edged my sin, asked God to for­give me, and pur­posely turned from a life of sin. There­fore, I am for­given. You can be for­given, too.

That is what Christ­mas is all about.

The shep­herds wel­comed Je­sus as a baby. The Wise Men wel­comed Je­sus as a child. You and I need to wel­come Je­sus as our Sav­ior.

I wish you a Joy­ful, a Blessed, and a Merry Christ­mas.

— Gene Linzey is a speaker, au­thor and men­tor. Send com­ments and ques­tions to mas­ters.ser­[email protected] Visit his web site at www.genelinzey.com. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

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