Why does Christmas matter?
The short answer is: Because Christ matters.
You could actually stand to ignore every other person who’s
Wouldn’t be nice, might get you isolated, but you could do
that, without any impact on your future in eternity.
You could ignore everyone on earth and go to your grave, but
then you’d find out you could no longer ignore Jesus, because He would still be
there. You would no longer have a choice – you would have to face Him.
Unfortunately, by that time, it would be too late to get to
know Him. It would be too late to call His name.
The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die, and
then judgment. The question is, “judgment by whom?” The answer is – Jesus. The
Bible says we will all come before His judgment seat and be judged for our
actions, whether they were good or evil, in our days on the earth.
Sadly, many people take their chances this judgment, hoping
He’ll agree that they really are good people, after all, and let them into
They hope the good will outweigh the bad, that their
standards are somehow His standards (even though most people believe everyone
should be allowed to have their own standards), and that they could even
convince Jesus to let them in if they had to.
But the Bible says our ways are not His ways. The Bible says
His thoughts are not our thoughts.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, His ways are
higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, the Bible
So we are taking the ultimate risk when we assume that God
will understand and overlook our sins.
As we saw last week, God has said that our thoughts are evil
from our youth. God has said there is none who does good, no not one. Like
sheep, we have all gone astray and seek after our own way. God has told us that
the wages of sin is death … but the free gift of God is eternal life through
Christ Jesus our Lord.
That’s the gift that was embodied in the Christ-child, Jesus,
the only baby that has ever been born to die for us. That’s the real reason we
exchange gifts on Christmas – to commemorate God’s gift to us, His Son, Jesus.
We’ve lost sight of that source and tell our kids it’s about an immortal senior
citizen in a red suit who can magically tell who’s been naughty or nice, but we
forget that the original St. Nick gave gifts (anonymously, I might add) in
honor of Jesus, who gave Himself for us.
We’re actually slapping Jesus in the face when we reject
this gift. We’re saying, “No, thanks. I appreciate you dying on the cross and
all, but I don’t need that. I’ll prove myself worthy and be just fine, thank
What’s the old saying, “the road to Hell is paved with good
intentions”? I guess we could also say, “the road to Hell is packed with good
people (who don’t need Jesus).”
I know this kind of talk inflames most people. It offends
their sensibilities, their self-esteem, their secular humanism that makes them
want to cry, “I’m OK, You’re OK.”
I used to think that way. I used to fall back on my own
righteousness (which the Bible says is as filthy rags before God). I used to
think I knew how to love, how to give. And I did know, at least somewhat. But eventually,
it was all emptiness. It was like pennies cast into a bottomless wishing well.
It never added up to anything and eventually it was worthless … until one day,
I recognized my need for Him, and suddenly, my world had meaning. Suddenly,
love had meaning. That meaning was Jesus.
Paul writes that we can sacrifice everything, our
possessions and our very bodies, and still amount to nothing, if we don’t have
love. He writes this in the famous chapter that defines what love is, in I
Corinthians 13. This is love as defined by God:
Not jealous, boastful or arrogant
Not acting unbecomingly
Not seeking after its own
Not taking account of wrongs
Not rejoicing in unrighteousness, but in the
Bearing all things, believing all things, hoping
all things, enduring all things
Is this how love is portrayed in the movies? What idea of
love do we have in America nowadays? Our popular culture has boiled love down
to steamy sex scenes. So much for not acting unbecomingly or not rejoicing in
You know what’s amazing? Jesus is all these things. He is
the perfect embodiment of the love described by Paul – perfect, Godly love. No
wonder John 3:16 reads, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have
Elsewhere, Romans 5:8 says, “but God demonstrates His own
love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Moreover,
the next verse reads, “much more then, having now been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him,” and then, “for if while
we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more,
having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
And that’s the point. If we reject Jesus, we are God’s
enemy. But if we accept Him, we shall be saved from the wrath of God – the judgment
we all think we will escape somehow.
Now you know why Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace.” He
made it possible for us to have peace with God, and no longer live as His
enemy. Do you think He will allow His enemy into His heavenly kingdom? Of
course not. First, we will have to be reconciled with Him through His Son,
Jesus. As the gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 11-13, reads: “He came to His
own, and those who were His own did not receive Him, but as many as received
Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who
believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh
nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Therefore, we must be born again – of God – to become the
children of God. This is nothing we can earn, buy our way into, talk our way
into, or inherit any other way. That is why John says it is “not of blood
(birthright), nor of the will of the flesh (trying harder), nor of the will of
man (deserving it or earning it).” It is only by His gift, His Son, Jesus.
In the next verse, John writes, “And the Word became flesh,
and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from
the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Word that John spoke of was “Love.” That Word was named “Jesus.”
Twice in his first letter, chapter 3, John writes that “God is love.” In verse
16, he says, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and
God abides in him.”
Jesus was the love of God, manifested to men, that they
might be saved from their sins, that they might know God’s love toward them,
that they might be reconciled to a holy God and saved from the wrath to come.
That wrath is holy judgment, the final banishment of all that is unholy,
profane and impure from God’s presence, once-and-for-all, for all eternity.
But Jesus was born to declare the good news of our salvation
and reconciliation with the Father – through Him. As he said in John 14:6: “I
am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.”
That is the good news – that there actually is a way to find
God and to be at peace with Him. That is why the angel of the Lord declared to
the shepherds, in Luke chapter 2, verses 10-14:
“’Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of
great joy which will be for all the people.
“’For today in the city of David there has been born for you
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
“’This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby, wrapped
in cloths and lying in a manger.”
“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of
the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good will toward men.”
That baby was Jesus.
Today, he still beckons us to come to the Father. That is
why Christmas matters – because Jesus still matters. He still calls to us. He
still saves us. He still changes lives. Despite what the cynics have said, God
is not dead and He will never be irrelevant. Even after 2000 years, He still
loves us – just as Paul wrote, He is patient, He endures all things, He bears
all things, He never fails. As he wrote in Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 8: “Jesus
Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.”
It’s not too late. You’ve accepted everyone else’s gift this
year – won’t you accept His?
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