WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS TO JESUS FOLLOWERS . . .
YES, Christmas is commercialized. YES, Christmas is too consumer oriented. YES, Christmas is stressful – you’re going to be with people love/can’t stand whether you want to or not! BUT, for all of that there’s no time like Christmas for the follower of Jesus! Why?
1. It is when God in a physical way entered human history. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit – ONE, but each distinct in person and function have always been present and active. But each had a unique emphasis in relating to us. As God the Son, invades human history – he comes to inhabit that which he has created in human flesh. He now understands us in every way. He can identify with us in every way. It is no longer distant and untouchable or unreachable by prayer alone – but now is with us – or Immanuel – God with us – which is what Immanuel means.
2. Christmas is the completed work of Grace. All religions have mercy. Mercy in most religions is based on earned credit to receive mercy. Hopefully, if a man is good enough God will show him mercy. So how good is good enough? If my relationship with God is dependent on me, how much do I do? When do I obtain? How can I ever know true peace? When can I have assurance? God wants us to be clear in where we stand with him. Furthermore, as Father – he wants a relationship with his family. For a follower of Jesus, grace is God giving us his credit, his goodness and has nothing to do with that of our own. Everything in the life of Jesus both proved his Godhood and accomplished our relationship with him. His virgin birth, his sinless life, the signs and wonders that he performed, his death, burial, and resurrection all were necessary for us to have a relationship with him. The life of Jesus connects us with God in a way like no other faith. With it, it brings hope, assurance, confidence, and wholeness like nothing else.
3. Love becomes the supreme motivation for all that the follower of Jesus does. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you know me, that you love one another.” Jesus also said, “Greater loves has no man than this, than he would lay down his life for his friends.” Many people who don’t understand Jesus and the cross would misunderstand grace as a pass on doing good. NO – it is the opposite. If anything, because you are a part of the family – you all the more want to do good to be good – because you love God. Now the motivation isn’t based on getting something from God, but a relationship with God. Now loving others becomes the most God-like thing we can do. Thus, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons (daughters/children) of God.”
For those of you that don’t know Jesus, but you know me – I’m sorry for those who call themselves followers and are filled with hate. A true Jesus follower can’t live by hate – he says so. There may be many things you see with “Christianity” that are wrong – I promise you, you will find no wrong in Jesus. Even Pilate, the governor that had Jesus crucified said, “I find no fault in him.”
Jesus doesn’t belong to the West – he belongs to the world. He was born in the Middle-East as a man – but as God he stretches to the ends of the earth. Jesus belongs to all of us that are willing to receive him. Acknowledge who he is and follow him. Merry Christmas – I love all my friends, I pray for you often and believe that Jesus wants to shower you with mercy, grace, and love that started before the world was created but was visualized in a manger 2000 years ago . . . He loves you.
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.