The Christmas the tree is up, and the presents are wrapped, even though we finally caught COVID this past week after managing to dodge it since the beginning in 2020. Now that it’s endemic, it will become like influenza. We’ll continue to get our shots each year for both COVID and the flu, like we did this year and the year before, knowing that neither shot is 100% effective, but glad for every little bit that helps, since we’re both in our sixties.
Since COVID got us, I’ve been utterly exhausted, attempting to recover, remembering to drink plenty of water, to rest, and to wrap gifts slowly, one or two at a time as COVID seems to lessen its hold on me, bit by bit.
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.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s One and Only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV).
Not a one of us can say we are sinless. Our own consciences condemn us. All human beings are seriously flawed, but 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.
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 at that time.
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.
This is why we remember His death at Christmas time. His death and resurrection are the culmination of Christ’s mission, to obey the Father, and to offer Himself 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 flawless events.
How can we have peace with God?
Can we yield and trust this merciful God who came as an infant for us?
Can we ready our hearts and minds to celebrate Christ’s selflessness?
In what ways do we prepare to worship the Sovereign God, the sacrificial Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus, born as an infant? How do we focus on the sacred recollections of Jesus’ sacrifice for us?