Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.1 Timothy 1:15-17
I love the book and movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! These words stick with me …
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.Theodor Seuss Geisel, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Paul reminds us that Jesus came to call sinners – this is the meaning of Christmas and that is such good news for all of us, right?!!
Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9-10
Paul’s teaching confirms the message the angel gave to Joseph, “… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not 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.” Matthew 1:20-21
Christmas is not about the outward trappings, not about the ribbons, tags, packages, boxes or bags. Christmas is all about the heart, the new heart that God promises His children – I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7
If you haven’t listened to this song, It’s About the Cross, this Christmas, today would be a great day to use it in your private worship!
On one of my favorite Christmas albums by Downhere I hear these words:
Sacred night so timeless
We through shadows roam
Lend Your star to guide us
To our heart’s true home
Even if nobody said Merry ChristmasChristmas in our Hearts
If even the choirs and belfries made no sound
There would be peace on the Earth, and forgiveness
‘Cause its Christmas in our hearts
For those of us who accept this great gift of salvation, keeping Christmas in our hearts, we are prime examples of his great patience!
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might,
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all, life thou givest, to both great and small.
In all life thou livest, the true life of all.
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.
Great God of all glory, great God of all light,Walter C. Smith, 1867
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight.
All praise we would render; O help us to see
‘tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.
As you pray today, thank God for his patience in pursuing you, for your new heart! And ask God to help you honor Him in your heart and in word and deed!