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The grace of Christmas

December 10, 2007

Pastor Orval Wirkkala, Apostolic Lutheran Church,Kingston

“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’” – Luke 2:10-11

When we were young, we sometimes played a game called “telephone.” We would sit in a line or a circle and each would whisper that which they heard from a person on one side of them to the person on the other side of them. When the last person would repeat what they heard from the person sitting next to them, rarely would it be repeated exactly as stated by the first person.

As we enter into the Advent season, a time in which we await and prepare for the commemoration of the first coming of Jesus Christ to the earth, we, as Christians, having experienced the birth of Jesus into our hearts in a spiritual manner, look forward to this special time of the year. And this we are able to do because we have believed the message of the gospel, the same message which was spoken by the angel years ago, and continues to go forth today as a result of Jesus being born, living, dying, and rising again from the dead.

Throughout the ages, the message of Christmas has been told over and over again, resulting in many being rescued from darkness and brought into the kingdom of God. But unfortunately, even as the “telephone messages” get distorted when passed from one person to the next, we humans, being limited in our understandings and apt to cling to traditions of men, have sometimes received a distorted message, or even distorted the message of Christmas ourselves.

Because the Jewish people did not have a spiritual concern for the Gentiles in their time, God ordained that when the angel would bring forth the good tidings of great joy, the message would be for all people – not just to the Jewish people, but to all people of the earth. It is clear then, that God wishes for everyone to be reconciled unto Him through His Son, Jesus.

Why then are there so many unhappy people who dread gathering during the time of Christmas? Could it be that the message of Christmas has been distorted to the end that we have not been told of the freeing Gospel of grace for our lives?

Could it be that we do not realize that the Christmas message is about being freed from the guilt of sin, as well as from the power of sin, because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, God’s Son?

Have we experienced the joy of Christmas through the forgiveness which Christ came to give?

The essence of Christmas is contained in these two verses:

• “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. “(1 John 2:2); and

• “Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26)

Jesus made payment for your sins. Believe that fact today to your soul’s salvation!