CHRISTMAS has got to be the best season of the year for most people.
It is an opportunity to spend quality time with both family and friends.
For many people, the idea of taking time off is particularly attractive.
I think it would be fair to say that family time would be one of the prime meanings of Christmas to our community.
Yet, it goes beyond that, for Christmas time is a time for remembering Jesus’ entry into the world.
Interestingly, however, neither Jesus nor His apostles ask us to remember His birth.
There is only one occasion of Jesus’ life that we are asked to remember, and that is of His death.
Even this occasion, which we mark at Easter, is meant to be a regular weekly event as was the practise of the early church.
Be that as it may, His birth is a prominent aspect of the teaching of Jesus and there is nothing wrong with marking a time of the year to remember it.
Specifically, His birth is notable because of His entry into the world – an entry which was significantly different from every other person ever to be born.
Before or since.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus marks this distinction by saying to the Jewish people:
23 — And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.
24 — “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:23–24)
This is what makes the virgin birth so significant.
The originator of a conceived Mary is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.
The virgin birth speaks to the fact that Jesus is from God, not from the usual source, like a parent or ancestor.
This makes sense if you understand that God is love.
It was love that sent the Son of God into the world so that we could be rescued from the destructive agent of sin.
Sin is the fallen condition of humanity; a condition which wages war against each and every person.
No doubt, you know that agent in your own life.
Everyone, if they are honest, can testify to the ‘evil impulse’ that seems to lurk within us.
It might not always show itself in violent ways, but it still disturbs us to know that we often cannot break free of it.
We have had our fair share of fractured relationships; we have had our fair share of moments that, on later reflection, we would give anything to take back.
This is all because we said or acted in such a way, as to hurt or damage someone else.
We say we don’t mean to, but sin is like an addictive drug.
We are ever trying to break free of it, but always coming up short.
The apostle Paul, in Romans 7, talks about his previous life in Judaism and the struggle he had to do good – or to overcome the evil impulses he struggled with every day.
The bottom line is that he failed with God and human relationships.
His answer was the ‘Person’ of Jesus.
For Jesus endured the hateful sin of man and became a ‘sin-bearer’ who is able to take sin away.
This is why Christmas is special, because if God had not sent Jesus into the world, we could never gain God’s forgiveness, nor would we be freed from the reality of sin which everyone experiences, but most wish to ignore in the hope that it will just go away.
Echuca Community Church
Christmas service times
Christmas Day 9am