TITLE: Love + Reconciliation = Christmas
By Judy Doyle
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“Mom, is Santa real,” asked my little boy.
How do I answer that question, I thought. I knew his grandparents (my in-laws) didn’t like the idea of promoting and talking about Santa. But I grew up believing there was a Santa and I turned out okay (I think). God gave me an answer that satisfied my little fella.
“Santa’s the fun part of Christmas, Tim.”
That was all he needed to hear, it satisfied his curiosity. However, I knew I needed to share with him, again, the real reason for Christmas.
As we rush from store to store, elbowing ourselves into position to grab in-store specials, it’s as if we’ve forgotten the reason for this special day.
It’s an amazing revelation when one discovers the REASON for Christmas. In a world dominated with fears of terrorists activities, dwindling IRAs, 401Ks and another retirement nest eggs, and a possible collapse of our automobile industry, it’s easy for us to wring our hands in worry and fear. Many might even posed the questions: Where’s the joy? What happened to ‘peace on earth?’
I propose the joy and the peace has never left us. Rather, we’ve looked for that joy and peace in other places. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)
We’ve been trapped by the laws. Do this and don’t do that has been ingrained in us we’ve forgotten the love and graciousness of God. Ultimately, we’ve forgotten the purpose of the Law. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply show us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:20 NLT) Sin has robbed us of the joy of knowing God. Knowing we can not restore joy and peace for ourselves, God developed this wonderful plan of sending his only son to set us free.
Paul also wrote, “But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.” (The Message)
To celebrate Christmas is to acknowledge the gift of eternal life given to us by God in the person of Jesus Christ. Eugene Peterson in The Message said, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (John 3:16-18)
Hebrews 12:1 says, “. . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us. . .” Laying aside sin can only be done through the graciousness of God. There is nothing we can do to earn this forgiveness, it is a gift. Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”
“Mom, if Santa's the fun part of Christmas, what’s left?” His inquiring mind was filled with questions.
“Well, son,” I began. “Christmas is the time we remember that God loved us so much he sent us a gift. It wasn’t a gift we unwrapped. It was a gift of love wrapped in a small little baby . . .”
His little voice interrupted me, “Baby Jesus?”
“Yes, honey, baby Jesus,” I answered softly.
Later that night I heard him singing,
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak, but he is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me,
The Bible tells me so.
The reason for Christmas? Love and reconciliation. Praise be to God.
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