In the next few days I will preach on an amazing silent night and God’s Word being in the flesh. Some years are better than others. Some years we get excited for Christmas, and some years we just need Christmas. Ok, we always need Christmas, but some years we feel the pain of sin in our world so badly that we keep wondering when and how will Jesus fix our mess.
Let me start by saying we are not alone. Sometimes we think this year is worse than the past. The honest truth is, ever since the Garden of Eden sin has been rampant and God has been dealing with it. Yet, we live in the present, and in the present, these challenges are real. We need Christmas!
St. Louis needs Christmas this year. We need to go back to the things we are good at, like celebrating Cardinal victories and being the “Gateway to the West,” not the apocalypse of pain. We don’t want to be known as the city that started this massacre and then watched it run wild. Every news story reminds me of the night I sat there and watched it unfold on TV.
I need Christmas this year. I watch as my son gets older and he develops my characteristics, some good but also some bad. I spend nights praying that God would help me to see the ways I am impacting his life. As a parent, you want to take all of your sin and throw it out the window and not allow it to affect your kids.
I read an article recently regarding some of the areas that Christians mess up. The author stated that one such area is believing that faith is most important. He was making some ridiculous argument that Christians focus too much on faith and not enough on actions. It brought in James being the brother of Jesus and how James believed in works. I wish I could help people understand there are no works without faith! When you try saying that we should follow Jesus’ example, you are missing the point. That is why Jesus came, because we couldn’t do it – we couldn’t follow His example. Trust me, I am not letting anyone off the hook, but sin is constantly wrecking the lives of people, and we need Jesus to forgive us, redeem us, and sanctify us.
That is just it – we need His sanctification. On the years when I need Christmas, I spend hours in my head praying for Jesus to teach me how to live. When someone comes to me broken, I spend hours praying for Jesus to help me see what they need. The cool thing is, hang out with Jesus long enough and it will happen. You will look back at your life and say, “Remember when I acted like that? Thank you, Jesus, that you brought Christmas again, because I needed you.”
I was not a fan of history in high school, but I love relational history. When people come to me challenged by the world and all that is in it, I like to take them back to where they started. We live and breathe the story of scripture – sinning, hearing restoration, then sinning again, and needing restoration again. History reminds us of where we have come and what God is doing in our lives to restore us. I love when the prophet Isaiah says, “out of the shoot of Jesse....” The people of Isaiah’s time couldn’t remember the good times with King David because they were so broken. Isaiah had to remind them that God brought restoration through a peasant’s son. Years like this we can look at the world and get a little frustrated. It’s then that we need to remember that God brings His Son to restore us. We need Jesus this year. Wait, I think we need Him every year.