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The “Why” of Christmas

In a collection of letters children wrote to Santa Claus, one said, “Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred.”

Another one read like this: “Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There is Jeffrey. He is 2. There is David. He is 4. And there is Norman. He is 7. Jeffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. But Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman.”

I am glad that God gave the best He had to give even though we were not good all of the time. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” (1 Timothy 1:15). We are those sinners.

Admittedly this is not a popular idea. Most people sentimentalize the Christian experience and play down the reason for it all.

Humorist Dave Barry said that to avoid offending anybody, the schools have dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. “At my son’s school,” he wrote, “they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non-memorable songs such as ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and – this is a real song – ‘Suzy Snowflake.’ …A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology!”

Even in some churches where Christmas is observed there is little mention of why Jesus came.

cross_8049cnThe stark reality is that it was our sin that brought the Son of God to earth. It’s not enough to say “Christ Jesus came into the world.” The teaching of the New Testament is that our Lord came “to save sinners.” This is consistent with the words of Jesus about why He came (Luke 19:10). The Apostle who wrote this said that this message is truthful and trustworthy and universally valid.

Like a dreaded biochemical contagion, sin has infected us all. Without Christ, our condition is hopeless.

Chief of sinners though I be

Jesus shed His blood for me;

Died that I might live on high:

Lives that I may never die.

–William McComb

Christmas is the celebration of His coming to “save” us from our sin and to bring us to God. This message, says Paul, “deserves full acceptance” by everybody, everywhere.

In one of the Christmas texts we read at this time of year an angel appeared to Joseph and said, “She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Our culture may try to sidestep the uncomfortable subject of sin. But let’s never forget that the basic reason for Jesus’ coming, the “why” of Christmas, is deliverance form sin. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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