What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Shepherds, angels, wise men following a star? How do you think it all went down? Do you envision a silent night? Stars shining down on a peaceful, serene night. A baby’s first cry piercing the calm and cold? Glorious angels singing to lowly shepherds? That all makes for wonderful Christmas cards and carols, but somehow I doubt that is anything close to what really happened. (Yes, there were angels and shepherds and -later- wise men. But probably not what we picture them like.)
For the first time in over 400 years, God was sending His Word to humans. And it was oh so much more than that! God had previously been the distant, unreachable God sending His word through select prophets. And then silence. Nothing for hundreds of years. Had God forgotten human kind? Had God given up on us? Had He given us over to our own ways, totally removing Himself from us? Although it seemed so, that could not be farther from the truth. No! God was still in control, sovereignly guiding the history of man.
The time had come. God would now invade humanity. And in so doing, He would declare war and begin the absolute defeat of sin and Satan. So on that night, heaven and hell were waging war. Fighting over human kind. Fighting over you and me. And I’m pretty sure there was nothing silent or peaceful or calm about it.
Yes, we read about the angels in Luke 2:13-14
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace toward men on whom His favor rests!”
So if war was being waged, why were angels praising God? (Not necessarily singing though.) Because they knew who would win the war. And they knew what the prize of that war was-peace. Not just a temporary peace or even a peace from all the evil in the world. Though that peace will come. But this peace was much more costly. This was a peace between us and God. And every human who acknowledges that babe for who He is-Savior and Lord- is a victor in this war and is awarded that peace.
God would no longer only be the holy God who seemed so distant. He now was intimately involved in our affairs. He was one of us. God would now reveal the loving Savior He had always been. And He would provide a way for us to be restored to Himself-to have PEACE with Him.
Why do I need peace with God?
Unfortunately many of us don’t realize we are at odds with God. What does it even mean to be at odds with God and need to have peace with Him? You see as humans, we are created to serve. And by nature we serve sin, disguised as ourself. We want our way, we want to be first. We want instant gratification. From life’s first cry, we demand to be served-to satisfy our desires. And in so doing, we are prideful and selfish-sinful.
And if we sin, we are slaves to sin. According to John 8:34, “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”” So as a slave of sin, we are doomed to serve sin. Although we are fooled into thinking we are satisfying our own desires, we are only satisfying Satan. Prisoners of our lusts. But Satan is very shrewd, and often our prison cells seem so comfortable that we don’t realize we are slaves and prisoners.
Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late. – God’s Not Dead
But on Christmas night all those years ago, a baby was born. He came to set us free. He came to give us peace. He came to die.
So why Christmas?
Because God loved us more than we could ever imagine. Because He thought we were worth fighting for. Because He wanted to reveal just how glorious and mighty and amazing He is. That He-the Word of God- would come to us-frail humanity, slaves of sin- to defeat Satan and take our place on that cross. So that we would have access to God. No longer enemies, but children of the Father. No longer a distant God, but a personal, intimate Savior, Father, and Friend.
So when you see the nativity with the precious babe in the manger. Take a moment, pause, and see the shadow of the cross. Because when Jesus was born that night so long ago, it wasn’t so He could coo and be cuddle. No, He was born to die. And that night wasn’t a calm and silent night; that night the total defeat of sin and Satan began to unfold. And that is why the angels were praising God. And that is the why of Christmas.
If you aren’t at peace with God and want that peace now, click here to find out how to gain peace with God.
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