For December 25, 2022
This year we celebrate Christmas on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day; the day many Christians worship the Lord Jesus Christ, from the perspective of a grateful heart; grateful for the gift of love, mercy, and forgiveness He unselfishly gave the entire world when He rose from the dead nearly two-thousand years ago.
Christmas remains my favorite time of the year because we honor the most important person who ever lived, whom the angels foretold (my emphasis),
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25 (NKJV)
Love, mercy, and forgiveness are human traits we don’t see much in today’s unforgiving world clamoring for vengeance. Our world of animosities demands that we “get even” for infractions, whether past, present, real, imagined, or not—somebody has to pay.
Death is the ultimate price that one can pay to show their love, and God, through Christ, did that for us at Calvary. His divine, selfless love extends mercy and forgiveness to all people everywhere as we accept His precious gift by faith, by asking Him to be our Lord and Savior. Now when we offend Him with our sin and disobedience, His is a very different response through Christ,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
Instead of judgment, He forgives us and keeps no record of our sinful past. Psalm 103:12 tells how He separates our sins from us as far as the east is separated from the west.
We deserved eternal judgment and condemnation. Yet, His selfless love prompted Him to restore us imposing no restriction. Mercy says that we have no probation period whereby we “earn” His favor.
Nothing can separate us from God. Neither can anything in our past make us guilty before Him. Thus, we can reflect His mercy as our being prime benefactors. (Romans 8:35-39)
All of us are born to die, but Jesus’ death was most is redemptive. And as we invite Him to abide within us, we can emulate God’s perfect love by forgiving wrongdoings, showing mercy, and extending goodwill to others as well,
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) Motivated by God’s selfless love, our compassion becomes a viable and attractive alternative to all forms of love outside of Christ. It encompasses the “most excellent way” outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter).
Patient and kind, it’s always at work seeking opportunities to show kindness. It is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. It is not possessive or irritable. It does not concern itself with what the recipient can do to “deserve” it, nor does it demand its own way.
It keeps no record of wrongs, and it rejoices when truth prevails. It never gives up, never loses faith, but is hopeful and enduring. Just like the shepherds of old, we too can joyfully observe the Lord’s birthday as recipients of God’s gift of love, mercy, and forgiveness. Won’t you accept this gift today and experience the true meaning of Christmas? What a wonderful Christmas present.
What a Wonderful Savior!
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Jesus!