Today is Christmas! It is the day we celebrate and commemorate a very significant event – Jesus, our Savior is born in Bethlehem. When you get past all the tinsel and the presents and the Santa Clauses, you find a baby born this day, (the whole reason for Christmas!) that changed the world. The world was then, as it is today, in a mess. Heartache, struggle, violence, anger, dishonesty, rudeness, immorality, and the list goes on and on, fills so many lives. We live in a world that is broken. It is broken because of sin. Sin is breaking God’s moral law and rebelling and rejecting God in our lives. Sin is the opposite of what is good, right and loving; and it brings a lot of misery and suffering into the world. Jesus came, born to Mary, in Bethlehem, over 2,000 years ago. He came for these reasons:
Jesus came to be our Savior. He came on a rescue mission to save the world. Recently, I watched a great movie, “The Finest Hours,” based on a true story. It depicted a dramatic Coast Guard rescue of a “broken” oil tanker, off Cape Cod on the Atlantic coast in 1952. Those who were perishing on the tanker were so glad some brave men came to their rescue. We live in a broken world and people all around us are perishing; people, who have lost hope, who struggle, who suffer. Jesus came to rescue us from this broken world by offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins and a willingness to forgive us and restore hope within and offer us eternal and abundant life.
Jesus came to show us God, our Father. He came to reveal to us God, our Creator, Almighty God. We might have a perception of God as an angry, judgmental God. Though he does judge sin, He is also loving and gracious and forgiving. John 1:14 says, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” And Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Jesus came to show us what God is like.
Jesus came to bring peace with God. The angels announced to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” We have all sinned and we are all sinners thereby creating conflict between us and God. And by God’s standard of holiness and righteousness, we fall very far short and our sin condemns us. But, even while sinners, Jesus came to pay for our sins and our judgement, and die in our place. We are forgiven and invited into a personal relationship with God through Jesus. It is through Jesus, peace with God is restored.
Jesus came to bring hope. Our hope is fulfilled through Jesus who came to give hope to the hopeless, comfort for those who mourn and suffer, help when we are helpless. There are many who struggle with loneliness and loss and heartache during the holiday season. But we have hope in Jesus and through His life in us. And Jesus is Emmanuel “God with us” who will never leave us nor forsake us.
I’ve read about the birth of Jesus hundreds of times over the years. The more I contemplate the power of a simple birth that significantly changes lives today, it continues to astound me. This is Jesus, God’s Son, who left the glories of heaven and came to this broken world to be rejected and crucified on our behalf. He came to rescue us, to give us peace and hope in God – and to show us Who God really is and how much he loves us. He came to make a way for us to live in the presence of God and in the presence of all that is good and loving and right, for eternity. Through this birth of Jesus, God’s One and Only Son, we do not have to continue to be broken. We can be rescued. And we can be restored by trusting in Jesus, as our Savior. Merry Christmas, Juneau! A Savior has been born to you!
• Dan Wiese is pastor at the Church of the Nazarene.