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In a recent article, Christianity Today reported that most Americans, along with a great many confessing Christians don’t believe the Son of God existed before his birth in the manger.  The article began with the following statement: “Christmas is a celebration of a real event, according to most Americans.  Just don’t expect them to know exactly why Jesus was born and came to earth.”

I have not seen a survey of attitudes in Canada, but I suspect they would be a great deal more depressing than those found in the USA.  While it is true that many Canadians put out lights at this time of the year, buy Christmas trees, purchase gifts for loved ones and have family gatherings (even amidst COVID-19), I suspect that only the confessing Christian even takes the time to remember the nature of the celebration at all.  But that should not make us shy about sharing the message of Christmas.  Christmas is a unique opportunity, afforded to each local church to proclaim the good news.

The good news is that God loved a ruined and sinful humanity.  Of course, to most non-Christians in our culture, that message is not surprising.  As one skeptic was reported to have said, “Of course God will forgive us all His faults, that is His job.”  But Christians must not avoid such comments lest the message of Christmas loses its splendor.  God is not obligated to forgive, neither is that His job.  God is obligated to uphold justice.  God is obligated to defend His glory.

Whenever we are asked what Christmas means to us, we need to respond in a way that gives glory to Jesus.  Why not start with John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word.”  We should not be shy to mention that Jesus is the great Creator and that He, on that basis, has absolute rights over the creation.  It is His, and He has not relinquished it to us.  We are tenants on His property.

On that basis, the creator owes us nothing.  We owe Him all things.  He is not under any obligation to us.  We are under obligation to Him.  Furthermore, the creator has subjected His creation to death.  He will not tolerate our rebellion.

What then should move the creator to extend Himself on our behalf? And yet, in wonderous love, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Or as John 3:16 so aptly reminds us, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”  Christmas is the real historic account that God has stepped into the creation, not for the purpose of condemning us, for we were already condemned.  Christmas is the story of God clothing Himself in human flesh, for He knew we needed a saviour.  Hence, the love of God is not a necessity.  Rather it is an act of grace.  It is the love of God that we have not earned, deserved, or could have hoped for.  And yet, with this manner of love, God entered into our world.

Christmas is the story that the altogether glorious God looks with mercy upon His creation.  He offers us light where there was darkness, and hope in the place of despair.  Jesus’ birth is not just a nice story and worthy of lights, but it is a story of the love of our God.

Merry Christmas!

Dr. John Neufeld

Dr. John Neufeld

Dr. John Neufeld is the national Bible teacher at Back to the Bible Canada. He has served as Senior Pastor, church planter, conference speaker and educator, and is known both nationally and internationally for his passion and excellence in expositional preaching and teaching.

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