“ John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”What is the message of Christmas any way? You hear lots of things about that this time of year. “Christmas is for caring” says one. “It’s gifts and presents,” says another. “No, it’s peace on earth and goodwill toward men” chimes in a third, a little closer to the truth.
But really, what is the message of Christmas all about? You ask most people and, unless they’ve just come straight from an ACLU meeting, they’ll know at least the basics – Christmas has something to do with Jesus, and God sending Him into the world as a baby, and that somehow this gift was meant to save the world. Most will know at least that much.
But again, I’ll ask, what exactly is the heart of the Christmas message? And what are we supposed to do with it, once we’ve understood it?
When it gets right down to it, the thing we need to understand is that the Christmas message is exactly the same as the message of the Gospel. There really is no difference. For Christians, Christmas is not a separate thing, tucked over in a corner of the year all by itself (even though we sometimes treat it that way). It’s not that we have this nice, sentimental little story about a baby in a manger who was visited by shepherds and wise men, and then we have this other story about a Christ who was rejected by men, crucified and then raised from the dead on the third day. It’s all part of the same wonderful story – the record of what God has done to save His people from their sin! It’s the announcement of the Good News that God saves sinners!
And so the message we need at Christmas is the same message we need to hear at Easter and every other time of year – it’s the message of repentance from sin and of faith in Christ Jesus for salvation for those who believe. It’s the good news that sinners like us can be reconciled to God and made His children and heirs, if we will turn from sin and by faith trust in His Son as Savior and Lord
My prayer for you this Christmas Season is that God will give you ears to hear the marvelous news of what he has done in sending His own Son to die in the place of sinners. And that he'll give you a heart to believe that He did this even for you -- if you will trust in Him. So that, no matter what you've done or where your life has taken you up to this point, if you will repent of your sin (which means turn away from it in order to turn to Him) and trust in Christ (believing that He is able to save even the worst of sinners and give them new life in Him) you too can be saved.