By Pastor Jon Vermilion
Every Christmas season our culture is consumed with buying gifts. What is Christmas really all about? Is it just limited to receiving gifts or is there more?
The author of the book of Hebrews in the Holy Scriptures was writing to the Jewish people who understood sacrifices and offerings in their faith tradition. The writer wanted to convey to them that God sent Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice and offering, so that human beings can be made acceptable to God and be adopted into His divine family.
At Christmas time, we exchange gifts based upon the wise men who sought the Christ child in Bethlehem of Judea.
The Hebrew writer reveals that we are made acceptable to God through the gift of Jesus Christ on the cross. Romans 3:23, 6:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sin is what separates human beings from a holy God. Because of our sin, we cannot know God or experience His love. God’s first gift, the Law teaches us this truth.
Imagine if you wanted to take a vacation to the sun. How close do you think you could get to its surface? The same is true with God. Scripture says that God is all loving, all merciful, just, compassionate, etc…
Scripture also says that God is inapproachable light. So, just as it would be silly to try and vacation on the sun, it would be silly to think that we can approach God without first coming to Him through the door that He has provided.
In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through me.”
We are made acceptable to God in the following way: “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Ephesians 1:1-5 says: “For God chose us in Jesus Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
In closing, what is the true meaning of Christmas? It means that God went to great lengths to provide a means by which we could be made acceptable to Him.
God sent His One and Only Son into the world, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, crucified at Golgotha, raised from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Because of His great love, God has provided a way that we can know Him and enjoy Him forever. Through repentance of sin and trusting in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross where He took our place, our penalty, our sins are forgiven.
Christmas means that all who trust in Jesus Christ are free, free to be the person that God made us to be.
As 1 Corinthians 5:17 states: “If any person is in Christ, they are a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
(Pastor Jon Vermilion serves the First Baptist Church of Waldoboro.)