She 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, NIV)
The angel spoke such a simple sentence, but it had profound meaning. This is the message of Christmas and Easter — and all of Christianity — summed up in one sentence.
She will give birth to a son. This will not be a normal son. This boy will be conceived by the Holy Spirit. How? We don’t know exactly because the Bible does not elaborate. We do know it was a miracle, meaning it cannot be explained through scientific or natural laws.
You are to give him the name Jesus. When we look at Mary and Joseph’s genealogies (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38), we see this is not a family name. It was hand-picked by God because of its meaning: the Lord saves. What a big name — and mission — for a baby to grow into! But Jesus can and did accomplish His mission and live up to His name.
He will save his people from their sins. This is the whole reason Jesus came to earth. His purpose was not to be born in a manger. It was not to live a sinless life. It was not to overthrow the Roman government. It was not to establish a new religion. Jesus came to sacrifice Himself to pay the spiritual penalty for our sins.6
This is the message of Christmas. When we understand that, we can join with the angels in proclaiming:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14, NIV)
God deserves all the glory and praise we can give Him. He sent peace to earth by enabling us to reconcile with Him and experience a loving relationship. Surely His favor rests upon “his people”, those who accept His offer and find peace in Him.
As you celebrate Christmas, look beyond the beloved traditions and sparkling lights. Remember whose birth we are celebrating and the reason He came to earth. This makes it easy to join the angels in offering glory to God.
What is most meaningful to you about Christmas?
Has the Lord saved you through Jesus? From what were you saved?
If you have not accepted Jesus’ offer to pay for your sins, this is a great time to do so. There are no special words, just talk to God and acknowledge that you have sinned against Him and cannot earn His favor. Thank Him for sending Jesus to take the punishment you deserve. Thank Him for giving you peace and far more life that starts now and lasts for eternity.
If you have already accepted Jesus, give Him the glory He deserves.
Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso