The Christmas tree is up and the presents are wrapped, but this year I’ve been attempting not to be swept into the holiday commercialism. Both Easter and Christmas are holy commemorations for followers of Christ, a time to contemplate what God has done for us.

When we pause to reflect, these seasons are mind-blowing, heart-stopping, and breathtaking! They contain the truth that brings salvation to our messed-up world.

Not a one of us can say we are sinless. Our own consciences condemn us. All human beings are seriously flawed, and God is holy. Something must be done about our sin before we can come near to God, because while he is merciful, gracious, and loving, he is also just, righteous, and pure.

So God had a plan in place from before creation. He would do all the work to free us from the weight of our sins. God is unchanging, but his Spirit adapts to each culture and time period to bring his message in a way that can be understood by the contemporary mind of every era.

Little AngelCreative Commons License Adam Selwood via Compfight

Having peace with God used to involve bloody animal sacrifice. It was a flawed and archaic system, but it was one that ancient people could understand. It made perfect sense to them.

Hebrews 9:13; 10-3-7; 9:14-15 (NLT) says: “Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. But, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

When we place our faith in him we can have pure consciences. This truth is more important than Pinterest-worthy table decorations, perfect wrapping jobs, spotless houses, and flawlessly hostessed events.

How can we have peace with God?

Can we yield and trust this merciful God who came as an infant?

Can we ready our hearts and minds to celebrate Christ’s selflessness?