ImageThe arguments surrounding Christmas are always abundant. There are the scholarly arguments about if Christ was born BC or AD.  There are the arguments of where exactly did the Magi see Jesus Christ – was it in Bethlehem or in Nazareth.  There are the arguments that the birth of Jesus has been overshadowed by commercialization and that somehow we have taken a historical event and turned it into an economical opportunity.  Then there are the perennial contemporary arguments about where the Nativity should be placed and if it is being placed in the public square can anything else be placed nearby.

One person can be right in all of these arguments and still miss the central message of the Incarnation and the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The angel tells Joseph, "Joseph, the son of David, do no be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  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."

During His life on this earth, Jesus often talked about the purpose for his coming.  All of these terms are salvific, namely, how humanity will be saved.  Jesus talks about the fact the He came to give His life a ransom for many. He talks about the fact that he came to find the lost ones.  He talks about the fact that he came to save sinners.

Paul tells us that all have fallen short of the glory of God and that all are seeking evil constantly.  God, the Father, sends His Son Jesus Christ, because humanity on its own cannot save itself.  All the people that promise salvation outside of Jesus Christ are lying according to the Scriptures. All humanity is in darkness without the light and the salvation of Jesus Christ.  That is one of the reasons why there is so much light around His birth because He comes into a world that is not only in total darkness, but it is also in love with darkness.

The good news of Christmas is that Jesus Christ has come to save you.  This simple message is so crowded with all sorts of messages this year.  I have talked with a good number of families who are telling me that they are not coming for the Christmas Eve Service because Christmas Eve now has become a great family get-together.  I personally have nothing against family get-togethers; in fact I enjoy them very much. Nevertheless, centralizing the family instead of Christ and his salvation is missing the point entirely.  I have talked with other people who the only subject that they can deal with is the fact that the economy is going downward and they have lost a great amount in their investments. I understand this too because all of us who looked at our quarterly reports on our retirement investments had to think of how many more years of work we must add before we can retire.  Yet retirement, no matter how long it is, it is only a prelude to our departure from here and we leave as saved or unsaved.

My prayer and hope for you is that whatever the conversation topic will be at your Christmas table that you will have a time to reflect on the central message of Jesus by asking if you and your household are saved.  If you are, then your joy is complete. If you are not saved, the best gift that you can give is to share that Jesus Christ was born to save sinners – to take away the guilt and the penalty of sin and to give to each one who believes in Him life everlasting.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...