As I post this, I know Christmas is still a few days away. I know you are not planning on missing December 25th. But the question remains, “Will you miss Christmas this year?”
I am not asking you if you are planning to open presents, gather with family and friends, sing Christmas carols, or even attend a Christmas service. Those are some of the activities that folks normally do around Christmas, but it's not Christmas. And I do not want you to miss Christmas.
I know most folks find the Christmas story in Luke, chapters 1 and 2. Those chapters certainly tell part of the story of Christmas. But I'd like you to consider the passage below as our “Christmas text”:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 And He is the Head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. 19 For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:15-23
This is an awesome Bible passage that, from beginning to end, speaks of one person – Jesus! So let's take a few minutes to explore some of what the Bible tells us about Jesus and why He came at Christmas.
The Depth of My Need
You and I will “miss Christmas”, first, if we don't see the depth of our need. You see, Jesus came at Christmas so that we could be reconciled back to God the Father. Why do we need to be reconciled? Because our sin separates us from a Holy God. Verse 21 describes us all, saying once we “were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds”. I know those are strong words – alienated, hostile, evil. But unless you and I agree with what God says about how our sin separates us from God, we will “miss Christmas”.
You see the Scripture says we are ALL God's creation, but we are NOT all part of God's Kingdom. But we can become part of God's Kingdom and adopted into His family when we truly see our need and turn in faith and repentance to the only One who can save us – Jesus!
Isaiah put it this way: “All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a). Like a lost sheep, we are in desperate need of the Good Shepherd to bring us safely home.
The Breadth of Christ's Work
You and I will also “miss Christmas” if we don't understand the incredible breadth of Christ's work on our behalf. Verse 22 shares, “He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him”. Please read that verse a second time. Christ's work on my behalf is overwhelming!!
Just one verse earlier, the three words that described me before knowing Christ were: alienated, hostile, and evil. But look at the three words that are used to describe a person who is reconciled by Christ to the Father: holy, blameless, and above reproach. Wow! What a change!
That reconciliation, accomplished by Jesus through His death and resurrection, started with the humble birth of a baby in Bethlehem. There could be no Easter without the birth of Jesus. You and I should be overwhelmed by the incredible magnitude of all Jesus accomplished by finishing the work He came to do on our behalf!
And don't miss the work of Christ proclaimed in the Christmas carols we sing. Sometimes the words get “too familiar”, and we forget the truth behind the words. In O Little Town of Bethlehem, we sing, “But in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.” And in Hark the Herald Angels Sing, we sing the refrain, “Peace on Earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled”. These are only two examples. Go to Google and check out the lyrics of Go Tell it on the Mountain, or Joy to the World, or O Holy Night. The powerful lyrics of these and other familiar carols should open our eyes to see what Christmas is really about, so that you and I don't miss Christmas!
The Response that Brings Peace
But merely understanding the depth of our need and the breadth of Christ's work is not enough. God desires more than you and I merely knowing these facts. Our need and Christ's overwhelming work must move us to a response of faith! Verse 20 says, “and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Jesus came to bring us peace – a peace available to us because of the blood He shed on the cross on our behalf.
The Bible speaks about this peace in other places as well. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet looks ahead to the Messiah, who is Jesus, and calls Jesus the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). In John chapter 16, Jesus tells His disciples in His last hours with them, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” And finally in Romans chapter 5, Paul shares, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus saw our need and provided the only way for us to be reconciled to God – the only way to have peace with God. So the question for you and me is this: Have I responded by faith to Jesus and His message? If you see your need and want to respond by faith, you can pray the suggested prayer below. The words you pray are not nearly as important as the attitude of your heart as you pray them:
Suggested Prayer: Jesus, thank You for coming at Christmas! You saw my need because of my sin and provided the only way for me to be reconciled and have peace with You and Your Father. Thank You for dying on the cross in my place and taking the penalty for my sins. I choose to follow You in faith. In the Name of Jesus!
The shepherds came to see this miracle. The magi traveled a long road to worship the newborn King. They didn't miss it, and Jesus doesn't want you or me to miss it either!!
This post was adapted by Glen Solberg of Abiding Marriage from a sermon by Bill Elliff that was given on December 23, 2018 at the Summit Church in North Little Rock, AR. That sermon may or may not still be accessible. The name of the Sermon Series was Miracle of Majesty and again the sermon was given on December 23, 2018.
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