Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, if you’re in or near southeast WI, our wonderland of white snow has melted and there is little sign of any coming before Dec 25th, so…it is just a dream. And with the rain and the surface ground frost gone at the time of this writing, if you have farm animals, everything is basically mud slop. But…back to Christmas.
We’re surrounded by things good and lovely: pretty trees with bright lights and decorations, colorful ornaments, beautiful candles, wreaths, snow scenes, warm fireplaces in the hearth in a family home, beautifully wrapped presents. Everything is bright and light and cheery and happy. It seems that all of that symbolism is conveyed to us most significantly in the Christmas cards that we receive, which present to us almost a world of fantasy, beauty, wonder, loveliness, with folks writing about the highlights of the past year(hardly any mention of hardships),and that is one side of Christmas.
But if we may, I’d like us to talk about the blackness of Christmas, the other side. So grab a candy cane or a Christmas cookie as you read the rest, because there will be no sugar-coating in this letter.
There is lurking behind every beautiful scene on every Christmas card, every lovely sentiment of Christmas, somewhere behind all of that is something very vile and very ugly. And I really believe that to have a proper understanding of the beauty of Christmas, you must have a proper understanding of the ugliness of Christmas.
Because of this thing, there are tears and pain and war and fighting and anxiety and discord and unrest and fear and worry and sickness and death and famine and earthquakes and pollution. All those things which mar our existence are the direct result of it. It disturbs and disrupts every human relationship, whether between man and man, man and creation, or man and God. It’s the phenomena that damns every soul to hell; it’s that blight which pervades the entire world. What is it?
In Matthew 1:21, we read these words as the Angel spoke to Joseph: “And she shall bring forth a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.” 1 John 3:5 says, “And you know that he appeared to take away our sins;” 1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”
The Apostle Paul says, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,…” 1 Timothy 1:15. The dark and ugly side of Christmas is this: Sin.
The heart of Christmas is this: Christ came into the world to save sinners. “You shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sin.” And that’s the real beauty of Christmas: to understand the ugliness that it cures.
WHY am I talking about this in this Christmas letter? If there were no sin, there would need to be no Christmas. So we cannot divorce the two and we cannot hide behind the fantasy, the smokescreen of Christmas cards and all the rest. We cannot look at Christmas and celebrate its peripheral elements. Sin must come to the forefront. You see, the reason that Christ was born was to be the Savior who came to deliver men from sin.
Sin is that from which no one escapes and all who die in childbirth or from heart disease or cancer or war or murder or accidents or old age, or whatever else, all are dying and all are dying because of sin. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” Every person on the globe will die, and therefore has been affected by sin: the ugliness of Christmas, the degenerative power in the human stream that makes man susceptible to disease, disaster, illness, death, and hell.
It is the reason for Christmas. Every broken marriage & home, every shattered friendship, every argument, every disagreement, every evil thought, word & deed, can be attributed to sin. Anything that sinister, powerful, & totally debilitating for the whole human race must be dealt with if God, who is infinitely holy, is to bring man to himself. Thus Christ came into the world to deal with sin.
How many people does sin affect? The answer is in Romans 3. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For there is none righteous, no not one.” The definition of sin is “transgression of the law.” All you have to do is, in the quietness of your own heart, look at yourself in the mirror of the 10 Commandments. Take a look at your life: your deeds, your actions, the lust, the lying, not thanking God, not praising Him for everything that he’s done for you day in, day out, living in rebellion to Him. And when you start thinking of the pile, the mountain of sin that you’ve committed against God, think about Him DYING on the cross for you anyway, to be the payment for the sins that you have committed.
What do you need to be saved from? You need to be saved from the wrath of God- He’s angry at sin. BUT- God is rich in mercy! The babe in the manger- the One God sent- His Son- He lived the perfect life to be the perfect sacrifice on the cross. The message of Christmas ultimately leads to the cross. The Cross- where the sin of man was bore. Oh, that Jesus would take the punishment we deserve-bearing God’s wrath- for us! Now the bad and the ugly have become beautiful!
So, think about your own sin and then think about His kindness, and let it break you and let it lead you to repentance.
2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Romans 5: 6-8: “… in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 2 Corinthians 7:10: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation,…”
Acts 17: 30-31: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” So, to receive this offer God made to you, you are called to repent, turn from sin and turn to God, trusting in Jesus alone for salvation. The Bible-God’s Word- teaches that anything added to trusting Jesus alone will not save you- it actually is an affront to God because He has already provided an all-sufficient gift of his only Perfect Guiltless Son to bear the shameful punishment & death of a criminal that sinners deserve. Then Jesus rose again, defeating death. “I Am the Way, the Truth, the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me,” Jesus said this in John 3:16. You must trust in Jesus alone for salvation…. the reason for Christmas!
Look, I know for some of you this is hard-reading, but it’s the truth. Please examine what I have said in the light of the Bible to make sure for yourself. I don’t know how long I have here, so I’m not wasting time or opportunities. Please consider this. There’s nothing more important than where you spend eternity, and you have read how to be saved.
The Beauty of Christmas-The Reason for Christmas- it is God’s greatest gift! With all sincerity and love.
We hope you have the most joyous of Christmases this year! We look forward to hear from you and we keep you in our prayers. Please enjoy these 4 free online movies. MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!