Monday, December 25, 2017

Grace and Love: the Reason for the Season

21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NKJV

 Today is Christmas. As born again, children of God we know the reason for the season. We know Christmas is about the celebration of Jesus' birth. As true as that is, Christmas is so much more than that. It is the celebration of the love and the amazing Grace of God. In this time we celebrate what our good Father has done for us. He gave us the greatest gifts of all, the new creation, the gift of no condemnation and eternal life. This is why we lift up the name of Jesus in this season.

The Exalted Name of Jesus

 Christmas is certainly the most wonderful time of the year. We see such peace and joy and harmony around the globe. Stories abound of the kindness and generosity of ordinary citizens the whole world round. People think of loved ones and family they may have lost touch with. Not just in movies and television, we do see some people pause and reflect on family and friends even though it may be just a fleeting thought. Why is this? 

 If you pause and ponder in your heart what do you see and hear all around you? We see nativity scenes. We see Scripture referencing the Christmas story on cards, on billboards and signs. We hear Christmas Carols in shops, malls, department stores and blaring over the radio. Many of these Carols are classic hymns referencing Jesus and His glorious birth.

 What we are seeing and hearing is the globe exalting the name of Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. When the name of Jesus is lifted high it shifts the atmosphere. Certainly, we still see evil and unkind acts in the World. Sure we see strangers battling in the store for that "perfect" gift. In spite of that, in the midst of the daily grind, pause and reflect. Look at this time from a different perspective. See if not, just briefly, how Jesus' name is uplifted and His goodness is spoken of. People around the globe are singing Carols and they don't even realize they are lifting high the name of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the very person of Grace. 

 With this occurrence, it's so clear now why there is just something special about the atmosphere. Take note. In recent years, have you heard of the "war on Christmas"? Certainly, some of this rhetoric can be political in motive. However, there have been attempts by "secular progressives" to remove all mention of the birth of Christ in public square. This has nothing to do, in reality with left or right wing politics. Sure it manifests itself this way, but the attempts to remove Christ out of Christmas is the work of the enemy because he hates the name of Jesus being exalted.

 Even if the local leaders ban any public displays of Jesus, they can't stop it all. We can still show the love and Grace of God in this season. We can be the light of Jesus by lifting up His name by doing kind deeds in His name. No matter what law men may pass there is no law they can pass to stop the manifested fruit of the Spirit. 

 Understanding just what makes Christmas so special even to the secular world, we can see God's heart for us all. When we uplift Jesus we are uplifting the Grace and love of our Almighty Father. Before Christ came, the World was divided by the wall of separation of either being a Jew or a Gentile. The Gentiles were strangers from the promises. When Jesus came, God revealed this wall is coming down. This separation is over. 

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. 11 For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah). 12 And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest [heaven], And on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.” Luke 2:8-14 AMP

 This passage has been used to teach, that God's offer of peace and goodwill was only toward deserving men. Men of "good character." This performance rooted theology flies in the face of the revealed will of God. First, we know not a single one of us are just men or good men in and of ourselves. Apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead and follow the leading and promptings of our own unrenewed intellect and appetites.  Secondly, if we were already deserving and of good character why did we need Jesus in the first place? 

 The reality is these glad tidings were heralding the good news of Grace and love. This announcement was to let mankind know that in Christ and because of Christ's Finished Work any man, be they Jew or Gentile will find favor with God. That God is well pleased with men. In other words, this is the message of reconciliation. That in Christ, the barrier between God and man, which is sin, is done away for all eternity. No more is there a sin problem. Now there is only a reception problem. People only need to personally receive this generous offer of everlasting life.

The Reason for the Season?

 His everlasting love and over the top Grace are the true reason for the season. For God so loved the World, He gave us His Son. His love for us sent Jesus to be the propitiation for all the sins of all mankind. 

 None of us were deserving of this gift. No one had merited enough favor with God by their deeds. Jesus didn't die for us because we weren't really that bad. Our faults, failures, and separation from God was surely an illusion, a mere mental misunderstanding, right? No, we were in need of salvation, all of us. Each and every one of us. We were lost, spiritually dead and apart from God in our thinking and ways. We mustn't take the amazing out of Grace. 

 God's great love for us and His amazing Grace, saw our plight and stooped down and became one of us. He took upon Himself our sins and sickness and bore all the curse on that Cross. God's love and great Grace was the reason for it all. 

 As you fellowship with friends, loved ones and family ponder the real reason for the season. As He gave, be generous as well with those around you. Certainly, I am not talking about going into debt to buy for others, I am just saying be generous in your love and kindness and whatever you can give, do it cheerfully and with the motive of love and Grace. 

 Even if you're alone this day, know you are never truly alone. He is with you and His love is overflowing towards you. As believers, be a blessing to someone who is alone if you can. 

 Merry Christmas, and celebrate Jesus, the Father's love, and great Grace this day. You're loved. You're forgiven. You've received the gift of no condemnation and are eternally secure. In Christ, we've received the greatest gift of all, Jesus.
Image courtesy of jannoon028 at

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