Summary: A Christmas Eve meditation to be presented via Facebook Live. Christ was born so that fallen people can be redeemed. The message is a call to look to Christ, especially during this Christmas Season.
“All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.” 
Christmas without Christ is meaningless! If Christ, the Lord of Glory, is not the focus of our celebration, what are we celebrating? Snow? Cold? Darkness? Really? Is this the best we can do? Perhaps our celebrations are expressing a hope, not unlike our pagan forebears hoped, that we can somehow ensure spring will again come through our wild celebration in the midst of the dark winter! We’ll light candles, hang festive banners, bring greenery into our homes, burn a yule log, exchange gifts—all this we’ll do, calling it a celebration of the birth of the Son of God. But all our celebration is meaningless if we do not recognize Him! If Christ is not actually honoured, all we have left is a noisy hope that spring will come again as it has for multiplied centuries before. Again, I ask the essential question that demands an answer, “What are we celebrating if Christ the Lord is not the focus of what we are doing?”
But of course Christians do celebrate Christ’s coming to earth! And the reason we celebrate His first Advent is precisely because Jesus conquered death and brought life and immortality to light. We celebrate the First Advent of the Christ because He has provided redemption for lost people. The only people who have reason to celebrate Christmas are those who are redeemed by faith in the Risen Son of God. Because we are redeemed, we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, rejoicing in our understanding of what His advent means for lost people and in the promise of His Second Advent.
MANKIND’S CONDITION —
“All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way”
The condition of the race today is no worse than in the day Isaiah wrote the words of our text. Our situation is no better, but it is no worse. The people of Isaiah’s day were condemned because they had gone astray. People, without exception, had pursued their own way. Nothing much has changed; people still pursue their own way.
We have great technologies today, but we don’t necessarily live lives that are better than the people who lived during the days Isaiah wrote. We have physical advantages that would have been the envy of the people to whom Isaiah first wrote. Today, we have greater opportunities for healthy lives; and yet, the statistics on dying continue at a dismal rate revealing that one out of every one dies. We may appear more handsome in our tailored suits and patent leather shoes, but these aids to beauty won’t make our trip to the grave any more comfortable.
It seems to disturb some people when I do point out the dismal condition that characterises our present existence, but our condition is terminal. We are born dying. We may be briefly lulled into thinking that we have defied the odds—we are born, we grow, we mature, and then we reveal the true condition of our existence as we age. For years, we imagined that we were invincible, that we would never face the last enemy. Then, as the inevitable became increasingly evident, we were forced to concede that despite all the energy we could muster was insufficient to overcome the downward pull of death. We are dying, and at last, despite our protests and despite our efforts, we are forced to confess that death reigns. This is the reason the Word speaks of death as the “last enemy” [see 1 CORINTHIANS 15:26].
Scripture is forthright in reminding each of us, “The wages of sin is death” [ROMANS 6:23a]. Those words summarized what was written previously in this letter. “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” [ROMANS 5:12]. If there is good news to be declared, it always begins with the bad news of our condition. We must realize our helpless condition if we will appreciate what the Saviour has provided.
We are helpless, we are without hope in the world [see EPHESIANS 2:12]. We are compelled to cry out, “Who will deliver me from this body of death” [see ROMANS 7:24b]? It is at this point that the Word of God presents Good News. “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” [ROMANS 5:6-11]. We have no strength to change the sentence we each received by virtue of being born into the race. And yet, the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me!