Summary: If the Gospel message is all about Jesus coming to die for our sins... why would God waste ink telling about the birth of a baby Jesus in a manger? What possible impact could that story have on our understanding of God’s gift of salvation?
OPEN: Santa Claus has come into the 21st century – he has an email now. Apparently you can email Santa at Emailsanta.com. It seems they get over a million emails a year, and among those emails are these intriguing comments:
• A boy named Jon wrote: “I’m sorry, but I don’t have a chimney... I’ll leave the cat flap unlocked for you, but please watch out for the litter box!”
• Alex, 8 – “Thank you for the remote control car last year, even though it broke the day after. I know you tried, and that’s what counts.”
• A young boy named Art wrote: “I’m sorry for putting all that Ex-lax in your milk last year, but I wasn’t sure if you were real. My dad was really mad.”
• Christian emailed Santa saying: “Mommy and Daddy say I have not been very good these past few days. How bad can I be before I lose my presents?”
• Kayia, 9 “Pleease! Don’t bring me any new clothes.”
• Rosanne, 11 “Do you know Jesus is the real reason of Christmas? Not to be mean, but he is.”
(Readers.Digest Dec. 2010/Jan. 2011 p. 181)
Did you know that Jesus the real reason for the season?
Well, of course you do, that’s why you’re here.
But do we know why He’s the reason?
The night that Jesus was born, an angel appeared to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night. “And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
The Angel had ONE message to deliver: The Messiah had been born.
But WHY did the angel say Jesus was born?
(He is born to be a savior.)
“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour”
Now that’s a simple Christmas kind of statement. But - behind that simple phrase - is a whole wealth of insight. For example: The fact that Jesus came to be my savior” means that He came to be my rescuer. My hero. My knight in shining armor.
I NEED HIM!!
One Christmas Card said it this way:
"If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us a financial planner.
But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior."
The Bible says I NEEDED Jesus.
He saved me!!!
But now, the question is: What did He save me from?
The angel that appeared to Joseph told him that Mary would “… give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people FROM THEIR SINS." Matthew 1:21
What does that mean?
ILLUS: Well, if you were to ask most people if they were going to heaven when they died, what would they answer?
(“I hope so.”)
But do you know what do they mean by that?
They mean that they KNOW they’ve done enough bad things in their lives.
They KNOW there would be NO WAY they could deserve heaven.
And soooo… their hope is that they can do enough GOOD things to outweigh the bad.
The point is: When people say they “hope they’ve done enough” to be saved, they’re acknowledging that they have sin in their lives… and it has to be paid for.
(I have to do enough good to counter my bad deeds. I need to pay off my sins.)
It troubles them that they have sinned.
It troubles them that they have failed.
But they somehow come to believe they can fix that because they’re really not all that bad a person.
But their sin bothers them.
It reminds them they aren’t worthy to go into the presence of a holy God.
It reminds them that they’ve done things they hate. Things they’re ashamed of.
And it reminds them that they’re not entirely the NICE person they’d like to think they are.
And sin will remind them of their guilt - at the most inopportune moments. They’ll be enjoying a meal, taking a shower, or a taking a drive in the country - and all of a sudden, something will remind them of what they’d said/done/thought.
And suddenly their shame, guilt and embarrassment sweeps over them in a wave and leaves them feeling self-hatred and anger.
OPEN: It’s kind of like the comic strip Peanuts = Lucy is playing baseball and explains to Charlie Brown why she dropped a catch: "Sorry I missed that easy fly ball, manager. I thought I had it, but suddenly I remembered all the others I’ve missed, and the past got in my eyes.”