Why Celebrate Christmas?

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I’m writing this post on the morning of December 25th, the day many know as Christmas. On this day, many young children will excitedly leap out of their beds in their pajamas and run to their living room to see all the gifts under the tree, perhaps waking their parents who may still be trying to get some rest before the long day. Today, families and friends will gather together to share a meal, often involving abundant food and ample conversation. As the day winds to a close, we will once again start thinking about the challenges we face in life from the challenges at work, physical ailments, monetary struggles, loneliness, isolation, and more. As the following days come and go, the joy we had during those early hours on Christmas will be forgotten.

Is there really a point to this all? Is Christmas merely a reminder of what life would be like if we lived in a fairly tale where every day was joy and happiness? Why should we go out of our way to give gifts, or share in our valuable time? Or why bother celebrating a little baby who was born thousands of years ago? How does that impact me today?

I suspect many people have asked themselves these type of questions at one point in their life. And yet, year after year, most people will continue to celebrate Christmas. I’d like to share with you today the reason why I celebrate Christmas, and the reason why you can have true joy at Christmas time.

It all started many years ago with two gardeners. These two, a husband and wife, found themselves tending a very special garden, and they had a very close relationship with the owner of the garden. At first, they enjoyed peace and harmony as they tended to the garden as the owner instructed them to. Though they were given great freedom and responsibility, the two eventually did the one thing the owner of the garden expressly instructed them not to do and in that act of disobedience, they lost their positions as caretakers of the garden and were cast out of the garden, this place they so loved to be.

As the couple made a new life for themselves, they soon had children and saw their two boys grow and become excellent hunters and farmers. However, their disobedience in the garden had created a precedent for their children and in an act of rage and great jealousy, their older son murdered their younger son.

In the many generations that followed, the descendants of this couple would become kings, religious leaders, military generals, and many other powerful positions where they lived. And yet with all this power and might, they fell into the same problems of greed, jealously, murder, and evil intents that their ancestors had faced.

In case you are wondering, this story I’m telling is the history of the world starting all the way back with Adam and Eve, the first two people on earth that God, the owner of the garden entrusted to tend his garden. Their disobedience brought sin into this world, and as a result, their children and descendants began the long and painful history of the world filled with murder, greed, jealousy, rivalries, theft, and so many more evils. These evils are what still plague our world today which you and I experience on a daily basis as we not only are the recipients of evils, but we too are the cause of evils.

So why do I bring this up on Christmas day? Seems like a real downer? In a way it is, but Christmas only makes sense when we first understand the state of our world and the condition of our souls. Everyone, including you and I are born into this world with sinful and wicked hearts. That is why roughly 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ came to this earth as a human, born in a miraculous way. Throughout his life, Jesus called people to repent, turn from their evil ways, and follow him. Eventually, the religious leaders of the day sentenced him to death, though he had done nothing deserving of death. While Jesus hung upon the cross on which he was crucified, he took the full weight of the sins of the world upon himself and he, the only person to ever live a life free from sin, paid the price for our sins. Three days later, he rose from the dead showing that death has no power over him and that sin was defeated.

As a result of this act, Jesus made a way for you and I to be reconciled to God. However, the sacrifice of Jesus is not applied unconditionally, you and I must repent of our sins, and turn our lives to Jesus, putting ourselves in subjection to him. There is only one way to be made right with God, and that is through Jesus. I pray that today you will not harden your heart, but that you will drop to your knees in repentance, putting your faith and trust in the only one who can bring life and peace.