Written by Pastor Daniel Fleischer / December 2015
We speak the obvious. Being a Christian, a Christ believer, is a blessing. It is a blessing because of the privilege we have been granted by none less than the eternal living God Who by His Spirit has called us to faith. It is a blessing compared to the emptiness of those whose god is a god of their imagination, or a god of wood and stone. It is a blessing because of the future that lies before us through faith in Christ Jesus, true God and true Man, whose birth we celebrate each Christmas, and in whom our future is secure. It is a blessing as compared to the future of those whose hope dies with them. Thank the Lord for His unspeakable Gift!
It wasn’t always so. Born into the world according to the flesh, we were lost and condemned. Born into the world of flesh and blood, we were of those who were fearful of God. We were powerless to correct what was amiss, for conceived and born in sin (Psalm 51:5) we were like a man caught in quicksand–the more he struggles the deeper he sinks. With Martin Luther, we had to confess of our condition “Fast bound in Satan’s chains I lay, death brooded darkly o’er me. Sin was my torment night and day, in sin my mother bore me; Yea deep and deeper still I fell, life had become a living hell, so firmly sin possessed me.” The torment of sin is only increased by the realization that my own good works avail nothing; it is fatal for anyone who thinks that he can by personal work or merit redeem himself–and oh, how many are caught in that death trap. That was our condition. But thanks be to God. He beheld our wretched state, and resolved in His gracious heart to rescue us. And so we are at the doorstep of Christmas, ready to celebrate the birth of God’s Son, “Who was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Christmas is more than an artist’s depiction of a tender, beautiful baby. From our perspective in time we also see an anguished, thorn encircled brow.
Anyone who will not face the fact of sin in his life is able neither to understand Christmas nor the blessing of the miraculous birth in Bethlehem. Christmas is more than being enthralled by pious sentiment, or being emotional at the picture of an innocent looking child as Christmas cards depict Him. It is more than wishful thinking for the elusive temporal peace on earth.
As important as the birth of Jesus is, for without it nothing else would follow, the Biblical focus is not only Bethlehem, but also Calvary. Mary herself put things in perspective when she said in the Magnificat, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 2:47). Christmas is more than an artist’s depiction of a tender, beautiful baby. From our perspective in time we also see an anguished, thorn encircled brow. We understand Christmas if we are ready to say, “The Christ Who was born for me is the Christ who died for me!” This is the blessing of Jesus’ birth and what gives the Christian a peaceful and joyful heart. Our life is not one of empty dreams or morbid hopelessness, but of a confident future purchased by Him Who says, “My innocence shall bear thy sin, so art thou blest forever.”
Through the harsh realities of life in this anti-Christian world, and when confronted with personal setbacks of whatever form or circumstance, the Lord guides all things for the good of His children who believe in the cleansing blood of the Bethlehem Child. While our eyes are blurry with tears and our hearts frequently overcome with sorrow, faith sees the glory of God and the smiling face of the Father in the face of Jesus Christ. This is exciting. This is a blessing. To God alone be glory. Amen.