I’m thinking about Christmas. Sitting here at my desk, listening to the rain, thinking, “Isn’t it bloody beautiful!” I’m feeling grateful.
I ran into an old mate today at the supermarket and he asked me, “What’s Christmas all about?”
Knowing it was a bit rhetorical I said, “The cross, Resurrection, our need for a Saviour.”
He replied, “That’s not a popular message these days, Nige.”
We both laughed and moved on, but his comment stuck with me.
You see and hear quite a lot of fluff around the person of Jesus and especially around Christmas.
You know how it goes. Jesus is painted as a Social Justice Warrior, super tolerant, social-worker-type, revolutionary. Anything from fairy floss and unicorn farts to Che Guevara without the gun.
Ask about Christmas and you’ll hear “it’s about togetherness”, “peace”, “gift-giving” or “being nice.”
Hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth; His arrival and His purpose were predicted (Isaiah 7). Before His birth, Joseph was told He will save the people from their sins. Around the time of His birth the angels declared to the shepherds, “a child is born a Saviour.” (Luke 2:11).
Mark 10:45 says He came to give His life as a ransom for many.
Luke 19:10 speaks of Jesus coming to seek and save the lost; and 1 Timothy 1:15, that, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
We read in John 10:10 that He came so that those called by His name may have life, and life in abundance. 1 John 3:8, goes further, telling us that Jesus has and will destroy the works of the devil, and so on.
Jesus came “when the time was right” because of our need for saving.
He came declaring that the Kingdom of God was near; here and now within you. And “to all who believed, He gave the power to become sons (children) of God.” He healed many, fed thousands, told the wind and waves to settle down, did wondrous miracles, and went about doing good.
On His way to the cross, He taught the reality of the love of God, the truth of His kingdom and the truth of who He is.
It all holds true today.
Jesus called out injustice, but He didn’t start a revolution to depose the Romans. Instead, He said pay your taxes. He exposed the religious legalism of the Pharisees but never said shoot ‘em.
He disappeared every time the crowd wanted to raise Him up as an ‘earthly’ leader to change their circumstances, and whenever He taught, people often ended up thinking “Hey, that’s hard words, how can anyone do that?”
Check the sermon on the mount. No one gets to heaven with “good works.” Jesus exposed the futility of the idea.
That’s why we need a saviour. Jesus came, was born in humble circumstances, went through the torture of the cross, and then the glory of the resurrection in order to bring us home to a relationship with God as Father.
As Jesus said, I Am the way truth and life (John 14:6). His name will be Immanuel, which means God with us.
He didn’t come as a revolutionary or a social worker. Not even as a “good teacher, or [righteous] prophet.” He is God with us. Manifest as man, living in full relationship and submission to God. Christ is the perfect offering that brings us home.
See through the sugar coating. All the tinsel, pretty songs, nativity scenes, they pretty up the reality. The reality we celebrate is the physical birth of the Son of God. The Saviour of man, where the King of all creation’s throne was a feed trough in a stable next to donkeys.
It’s great, and I love the celebratory time of year, but see through the prettying up of Christmas.
Remember that your need to be saved exists because you can’t fix it.
This. This is why we do Christmas.