“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”——-Matthew 1:21
Throughout the Gospels we see the crowds that followed Jesus only interested in what they could receive from Him. Whether it be food, healing, or other miracles, the crowds basically saw Jesus as someone who could provide for their desires, but not as “Lord”. Many today are no different. Unless something is going seriously wrong, many never look to Jesus beyond praying for help in the midst of their crisis or simply as a means of going to heaven.
It has been amazing to watch the responses of many because of the evil that is increasing all around us. People are gripped with fear and wanting solutions for the many problems in the world. But what many neglect to see is that most the solutions that are being proposed do nothing to deal with the underlying wickedness. Most solutions only attempt to band-aid the issues without getting to the root of the problem.
At the root of our problem is sin.
Let’s make no mistake about it, we live in a fallen world where we each deal with our sinfulness on a daily basis. Our disobedience to God has separated us from God and each of us are in need of His forgiveness, mercy, and grace. The only means in which we can be reconciled to God is through Jesus’ willing sacrifice on the cross; paying the penalty for our sins through His shed blood and rising again that we might have eternal life through faith in Him.
The Bible, from beginning to end, makes it clear that our biggest need is for us to repent of sin and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:15) No amount of community organizing, service projects, or other interventions will save people, but only through our coming to faith in Jesus. But sadly, for most, they focus more on what they can do here, rather than on their relationship with the Lord.
As we have once again entered this “Christmas Season”, there is no lack of those promoting helping people less fortunate. Pastors and churches also use this as an opportunity to encourage people to get out and serve others. And while believers should continually help those we encounter in need, it can never be seen as a replacement for sharing the truth of the Gospel. People might be made more comfortable for a time here on earth, but if we neglect our greatest need, our faith in Jesus, it is all for not.
Not just at Christmas, but we should always be rejoicing over the real reason why Jesus came to earth, to “…save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) We must not get hung up on all the different traditions and putting so much time, effort, and resources into Christmas services and events. What if we just keep things simple and take this time as yet another opportunity to share with people about God caring far more about us living out our faith throughout each day?? Instead of catering to the memories and feelings that people have growing up or their perceived ideas about Christmas, how about we just preach about the cost of discipleship?? It may not be the appeal that draws the masses for services Christmas week, but really gets to the heart of continuing to walk in faith beyond a few select days a year.
So as we get closer to Christmas, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the living Jesus. Not just a baby in a manger or trying immerse ourselves in the Nativity scene. Christmas is also not just time with family, food, decorations, and gifts. But let us rejoice all the more in Jesus being our Savior from our sins and live each day knowing Jesus is our only real hope of the world.