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Christmas, Christmas is here already! We all are happy because of it but most likely not because it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ but this season always comes with a long holiday. The end of the current year is closed and we are going to the new year. Lots of food and gifts. Meeting with old friends and gathering of the whole family. Church? Only a part of the rest. And if you watch tv frequently, you will notice that it starts to be filled with only 2 colours: red and green. Plus lots of white if you are in the western world. Christmas today is not about Jesus at all, but it never been as well from the beginning.
Nobody really knows when Jesus was born. Definitely not on December, most likely much earlier than that. But even then the church would not change this so-called Christmas celebration. We are getting caught a little too much on tradition. We do Christmas but lost its essence to us.
A bitter truth: we all have sinned.
When the Bible said to us in Rome 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, we were all sinners (and some still are). We should always remember that, not to mean that we would still remember our past but for us not to forget where we were coming from. Please do not forget who we were before Christ and only through Christ our life are redeemed! He died on the cross to be the atonement we need the most. But normally most of us would not really care about this especially in Christmas time. We would say, hey this is the day He was born as a baby. Don’t talk about the Cross yet. That will be just on Easter later, some 3-4 months from now. Let’s have fun and enjoy this season first. See, you have lost its essence of Christmas. Yes, even its own song said: he was born in Christmas time. So Christmas is Christmas alone and Jesus was only happened to be born on this holiday season. Yup, that the bitter truth that is happening now!
We were (and some still are) all sinners. But because the economy is good now then we would likely to lower this condition. Our Thanksgiving and celebration now are more because we managed to elevate our financial situation better. We praise and worship Him because He has blessed us with money and wealth, all the family are good now. We don’t feel like a sinner. As to the fact we should never forget that we were (and some still are) all sinners. We really need to comprehend this. Sin is a real problem. It is (almost) unfixable human’s error. None can escape from it, and we were (and are) all lost in it. Do not think that only because you are not a thug then God will save you. Or you think that He might save you since you have a little weight of truth within yourself. No, we were (and are) all doomed because of sin. Even it is a little sin, that would be enough for you to lose it all before the Lord. And to each of us, Hell is our place. But to be honest, it will be even harder to convince someone here if the life you have is good, healthy and safe.
So why God is so cruel to the good life I have lived in?
Will you drink water that comes from my cup? Or will you zip the water from my water bottle? No one with common sense or desperate need will do that. Everyone will be considered already that my cup of water is as dirty as trash from outside. Do you know that yourself even with all its righteousness and goodness areas just like that before the Lord? But I do not kill anyone, I do not rape any woman. I have lived a good life, why He would not accept the goodness I have done? Let’s go back to my earlier question: Will you drink water that comes from my cup? Or will you zip the water from my water bottle? Only because the sin you have do not cause harm to others or damage another person life than you think you are worth to be saved? My questions are just a simple allegory to what the Bible said about our righteousness. It is like a filthy rag, Isaiah 64:6. And that filthy rag means the cloth that a woman would use to clean herself after her period. Would you come to Him with that rag as your offering of righteousness?
Sin has thrown us away too far from God’s presence. It cuts us off totally from His splendour glory. And either you are a bad person or good one, everyone is lost already. No hope at all. When Adam and Eve fell, they just throw away the whole human race into total darkness. And with the eternity within the human race (Ecclesiastes 3:11), we are all facing a real problem: this could be forever as long as the eternity. No, this is not exaggerating the sin, but simply showing the real fact of what we call sin. It is not merely a mistake, it is the one that cuts us off from Him, Isaiah 59:2.
So who could save us? Or even who would save us?
First of all, we are mankind- a human race. We are higher than just merely another being that has no spirit, so definitely a goat or ox could not be worth enough to save us. All of those sacrifice people made surely only as a symbol of what they should expect to come to redeem all of us. But most of them are caught into the ritual itself and now think that these things can save us. How can a less value thing use to pay a more value matter? It is only a con after all. Then we also think that a big dead stone or crafted wonder could save us. We pray and even offer incense to it. How would that thing save us? It has a thing that looks like ears and eyes but definitely, we all know that it has no ability to listen or watch over us. Maybe we all need those who would hear us without talking back to us! I just want to be heard! That is our cry. None of these could help us with our loss. To the end, all of this leave us alone with God only. We are merely clinging on one thing left: His mercy.
God is Just, and God is Love.
But sure enough that God will show us no mercy except His justice are DONE. Sin needed to be punished. We can’t have His forgiveness without bloodshed, Hebrew 9:22. And since an animal is less value to save us nor a dead being, who then supposedly able to do this? Whose blood can be shed to save us? Logically, it should be human blood as well since the ones that need the atonement is human. But then no human is worth doing so, everyone has fallen short of His glory. Everyone needs to be saved first before they can save others. And as much as those love of the holy men, each of them is lost and still needs to be saved. This is where Jesus comes: He looked at this impossible situation then He decided to help us on His own. So in order to save mankind, first of all, He needs to be a man Himself. But not from the lineage of Adam as He would carry that seed of sin: Adam has fallen into sin and all his descendant will carry this corrupt nature within themselves. But to be a man, He would need to be born from a woman. So He chose Mary right before her wedding to Joseph as the carrier, Luke 1:30. Jesus was then conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit soon after Gabriel the messenger delivered God’s message to her, Luke 1:35. This was without the seed of Joseph at all, Matthew 1:25. He was God the Son, born as a man through Mary but not from the lineage of Adam. He was the new man, the new Adam that carries no sin at all. He was that pure lamb, ready to be slaughtered as an atonement for the sin of man.
And when He was born, He was born with one purpose only: to be the sacrificial Lamb of God on the Cross. He didn’t come with other purposes beside the cross itself. He didn’t come to achieve the highest education He could gain. He didn’t come to be the most successful man nor the richest man ever. He came only to die as a peace offering to save you and me. If you also pay attention really well: the path He chose to do this was extremely hard and difficult. From the day He was born, nothing but difficulties and sufferings He had to put up with. He put Himself through a very poor family where the father could not afford a decent place for Him to be born. Joseph got no other place to put Mary that was about to deliver in a room that mixed with animals. He even had to use a manger to lay Him down, a feeding trough where they put food for the animal to eat from, Luke 2:6-7. No relatives or close friends to visit so Jesus could get a decent blanket to warm Himself up except strips of cloths to wrap. And not only that poor condition He had to put up with, But He also had to rely on this ordinary-and-no-power family for His safety. Not long after He was born, the whole family needed to flee to Egypt. The ruler made a decree to kill all the 2 years old baby and younger to prevent a new promised King to live, Matthew 2:7 & 16. Surely enough, God sent the 3 Magi to bring enough money and treasure to afford this running away to Egypt, Matthew 2:11. And an angel to warn Joseph through a dream right before that horrible thing swapped the land, Matthew 2:13. From the day He was born, the cross was always there shadowing His path. He chose this path so He could reach out to the smallest among us, to the poorest and the ones that have just nothing, to the refugees, to the outcast and rejected ones. He had to identify Himself to the lowest one so everyone could be saved if they are all willing to repent and believe in Him. That’s how worst the Chosen Path of life He took.
Christmas is the first step of the Cross Jesus took.
He was the Word at the beginning of everything, John 1:1-2. He was with God and He was God Himself. He created all things and everything belongs to Him, John 1:3. Yet, He never said NO to all of this. Could you ever imagine if He were like you and me, He would say NO when God the Father asked His favour to be the sacrificial Lamb for mankind? When someone comes to ask your favour to help where you would need to sacrifice your lunch box, will you do it? Or moreover, when you have to sacrifice your much of your life to help this man, will you do it? If He were you that will most likely say NO, could you imagine the life you will have with no remission of your sin? Just look at those lives that have no Jesus yet, see how they suffer under the curse and death of sin that takes away everything of them without mercy. Or even if you would, many of us would at least said this first, hope you are worthy! Do you know that we are actually not worthy to be helped, nor to be saved!? If you do not believe this, try to check your own heart. It is just so evil and full of yourself only. That is why the salvation we received from the Cross is called the Grace as none of us worthy to receive such strong and big love from Heaven. But still, Jesus never said never. He came and finished the job.
Jesus came to establish God’s justice upon sin and to love us the sinners. He let Himself to be nailed on that wooden old cross, alone to face all the judgement of God upon sin and to express His love by becoming our substitution. He didn’t come to judge us but to carry that judgement on Himself. He didn’t come to condemn us but came to give Himself away in our place. He came to die for you and me. He is the Justice of God upon sin but also the Love of God upon man. That is what we called God is GOOD! Not because you would still alive when you wake up the next day, not because you are not in jail nor in the hospital but because God the Father nailed His Son on the Cross instead of you! And because Jesus, God the Son love you so much that He was willing to take each step of this Cross from the day He was born to the day He died on that Cross. He did all these knowing you might never return His Love.
So Christmas should all about that Cross as well as Passover (or so-called Easter), all about Jesus from beginning to the end. We should celebrate this much because of His love that saved us and NOT because of all other reasons. Yes, from that Cross we have received His forgiveness: the remission of our sin, the redemption of our lost soul and atonement to God the Father. He has reconciled us to God. So either you are in a good financial situation or not, hospital or not, jail or not: we should celebrate that a Saviour was born unto us!!
One last thing, praise be to the Lord God Himself as the death could not hold Him more than 3 days. He rose again and will come back one day. That day will come soon enough for everyone that waits eagerly for Him. When we celebrate Christmas, it should remind us of the path Jesus took to save us. So we can stay strong in His grace and grow in His grace evermore.