334. Why Jesus came at Christmas. The Unimaginable, Unappreciated Depths Of The Christ Of The Christmas Message.

It seemed to me, as I thought about another coming Christmas season when Christmas is being overlooked, or not being observed by many folk, and when Jesus [whose birth we celebrate at Christmas] is being ignored, that we should think a bit more deeply about why we celebrate Christmas at all.  After all, as a saying from decades ago put it, “HE IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.” If it is all about Him, then why is He [and Christmas] being ignored by so many?

This year, my thoughts went in this direction.

  • A shallow appreciation of the severity of the wrath of God comes from a
  • A shallow appreciation of the sinfulness of human sin in the sight of God, which leads to
  • A shallow appreciation of the grace of God which He showed in in sending Jesus to pay the penalty sinners should have paid for their sin, resulting in
  • A shallow appreciation of the person of Jesus, who came from heaven as the eternal Son of God, at that very first Christmas, to live as a human, that He might die as a human, for humans, and
  • A shallow appreciation of the ministry of Jesus who came not only to die for sinners but to give them forgiveness of sins, peace with God and eternal life in Himself.

Whoa?

Some might say, “Whoa! You mustn’t mention the wrath of God at Christmas! Christmas is all about love. It’s entirely inappropriate!“ But what is love? the apostle John answered that question when he wrote, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,” 1 John 4:10. We note the following about that verse,

  • True love is seen in God’s love for us when He sent His Son into the world at that very first Christmas. What a wonderful Christmas gift! We love Him because He first loved us.
  • Why was He sent into the world? That He might be “the propitiation for our sins.” The word is found only once more in the New Testament in 1 John 2:1-2, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” The word means appeasing, appeasing the wrath of God. It is deeper than another translation often used for the word which is “expiation.” I read decades ago a simple explanation of the difference. We expiate a crime, but we propitiate a person. That is why Jesus can be our advocate because He stands before God on our behalf, by His very presence pleading His death on the cross for sinners, as satisfying the wrath of God.
  • Paul also wrote of the love of God in sending Jesus to die for sinners, when he described the latter in Eph 2:1-2 as “you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” The behaviour coming from unregenerate human nature meant they deserved His wrath. BUT!!! Paul added the good news, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” God so loved! He sent His Son into the world! Those who trusted in Him would not perish. In fact they would have life! {Exactly what the most well-known verse in the Bible [John 3:16] says!}

Love! God’s love!

It’s not a love that smiles benignly at human sin or is indifferent to human suffering. It is a pure love that wants the best for every human individual ever born. It’s a love that is offended when people hurt one another in any way and when they don’t care about what they said or did.  It is a just love that demands that justice is done and injustice must be punished. It is a forgiving love that makes provision for sinners to escape their just punishment for not loving and not trusting as He has commanded them to do. It is a self-giving love that meant that Jesus had to be born at Christmas, to die on that first Good Friday, for sinners, because “there was no other good enough to pay the price of sin!” It is not a sickly, soppy, sentimental, syrupy, shallow, self-seeking love. Rather as the world’s most well-known Bible verse I mentioned above says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. He saw humans perishing because of their sin and in love did something about it to meet their need and to satisfy His justice. That is why there HAD TO BE a first Christmas!

  • As one song puts it so well, “Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus -Spread His praise from shore to shore – How He came to pay our ransom- Through the saving cross He bore-How He watches o’er His loved ones-Those He died to make His own -How for them He’s interceding – Pleading now before the throne.”
  • God’s love then at the first Christmas! Seen in sending Jesus to live and die for us, as Paul wrote, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8.
  • God’s love now at this Christmas! Can be seen in the Spirit of His Son coming to live in and through us, to His glory, as we open our lives completely to Him.

Why There Is A Christmas!

Of course we shouldn’t emphasise the wrath of God at Christmas!  We would be foolish to do so when people have no understanding of what His wrath means! But we need to remember that it was the wrath of God needing to be satisfied, that made it necessary for there to be a Christmas!

Every Christmas is a celebration of His birth which led to His necessary death, for US!

Having ministered to hundreds of people individually since my conversion almost 61 years ago, I have become increasingly aware of the sinfulness of sin. Many of the things people shared with me have been horrific. I certainly won’t be sharing any of them in this Christmas season. Other things have been far less horrific in human terms but still had a deep effect on the person involved. One example that came to mind was ministering to a woman in her 90’s. She was a timid soul with no confidence at all. She shared with me what her mother had said to her about 90 years before. It had crippled her emotionally from that time. By the grace of God she learned to forgive her mother and we prayed that she might be set free from the power of those damaging words. Over 90 years of bondage came to an end and she began to blossom emotionally and spiritually from that time! We often fail to realise that a few ill-chosen words can lead to a lifetime of hurt and pain in those who hear them!

Inappropriate Words Can Cause Deep Damage

Words have power and inappropriate words can cause tremendous damage to individuals. It’s no wonder Jesus warned about the danger of careless words, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” Mat 12:36. [I found it interesting that the word for “careless” is ‘argon’, the opposite of ‘ergon’ meaning work. It could mean words that we haven’t ‘worked on’ before we said them.] It was the sort of thing Paul warned against when he wrote, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Eph 4:29. Suitable speech is that which builds people up or strengthens them, is appropriate for the occasion, not inappropriate, and is motivated to lead to positive outcomes in the lives of those who hear such speech.

Making This The Best Christmas Yet, For us And For Others

What a wonderful Christmas it would be for us and for others, if we could speak to one another in that positive way outlined in Eph 4:29. An encouraging word! The right words for the right occasion! Coming from the right motivation! To positively bless those who hear them!

What a wonderful Christmas it would be for us and for others, if we could allow God to remind us of hurtful or inappropriate words we have uttered to others that He knows brought hurt, pain or any damage to them, and if we asked Him for the grace and strength to say “SORRY! Please forgive me!” to those individuals. What a wonderful releasing healing gift it would be for someone we had hurt in any way, to hear our words this Christmas, ““SORRY! Please forgive me!” Unexpected Christmas “gifts” from “unexpected” people, at an unexpected time, are always a great blessing.

God’s Christmas gift to to the world was His Son whom He gave, so that we might have the gifts of forgiveness, peace with God and eternal life. My late wife Carole understood this. She knew that she had been died for, by Jesus. She chose beforehand a song to be sung at her Thanksgiving Service just over a month ago. We did indeed sing these words, which remind us that Jesus came at that first Christmas, to die, for us, so that we might live, [as she does now with Him]

“Amazing love, O what sacrifice-

The Son Of God given for me

My debt He pays and my death He dies

That I might live,

That I might live!”

May each one of you know the real joy and peace of Christmas as you remember that God sent Jesus to die for you, so that you might have life, in abundance, in Him!

Blog No.334. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Friday 13th December 2019.

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Christmas, Forgiveness, Healing, Judgement, Justification, Prayer, Real Life Stories, Salvation, Second coming of Jesus and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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