Yesterday I finished up James Mongomery Boice's, The Christ of Christmas. What an excellent read. The book is a collection of sermons he preached between 1969 and 1982. I find it to be a perfect balance of Biblical scholarship, passion for Christ, and love for the world. Boice expands the reader's perspective on and understanding of different aspects of the Christmas story, while also challenging him/her to connect with be changed by the Lord, the Christ of Christmas.
During this year's read through, of all the wonderful thoughts and ideas presented, I was struck most by a paragraph early in the book. It reads as follows:
Christians can know that they are of God by their conviction that Jesus is indeed God's Son. John puts it in formula form: "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us" (I John 4:15-16). "Jesus is the Son of God" becomes the confession by which one can tell whether or not he is a Christian. (p 21)
Boice's words brought forth a sigh of relief from my soul. In the Christmas season, we can feel like we need to conjure up all kinds of Christmas spirit and, worse, like we're supposed to have some fantastic spiritual experience to top it off. We make Christmas about works and the law, the very thing Christ came to fulfill and save us from!
Do you believe Jesus is God's Son? Son of the Most High, as Gabriel called Him when speaking with Mary? Then you are a Christian.
As a loved, forgiven, justified, and adopted child of the Most High through His Son, you are free from making your faith and your Christmas more complicated, and more about your abilities and accomplishments, than they need to be. You are also free to daily give thanks to the Lord for His gift of salvation through the Christ of Christmas and the Christ of the Cross, (to borrow the title of another of Boice's books). You are free to love God and your neighbor as you feel the Spirit lead. You are free to repent and believe the Good News: Jesus is the Son of God and He came to the world to save sinners like you and me!
If you have never considered the Bible's claims and Jesus's claims that He is the Son of God, this Christmas season is the perfect time to do so. Grab a Bible, grab a Christian friend, and read through the book of John together and then John's letters 1, 2, and 3. Let this be the merriest Christmas you have ever known because your burden is lifted and your soul set free for the very first time!
"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God lives in him and he in God.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."
Dear reader, it's simple really. Rely not on your Christmas spirit. Rely not on your ability to create the best Christmas ever. Rely not on your good behavior or good deeds to outweigh the bad. Rely not on your resources or lack thereof to provide. Rely on the love God has for you!
God uses Christmas as much as Easter to remind us that our only hope is
to rely on the love He has for us.
And how reliable that love is.