|Jesus, the reason for the season|
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What is Christmas all about? What does it mean to you?
This is the magic of Christmas from a religious point of view. The ideas are Christian, the theology of salvation is Protestant.
Around 2,000 years ago, a baby boy was born. A birth so significant that our calendars are still set by the event and every year we continue to celebrate it. But why? Why was this child's birth any more important than any other? The answer was given while he was still in his mother's womb: "You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save his people from their sins". But what does this actually mean? And of what possible relevance is that to us today? If I told you that a great leader would be born in 700 years, giving you explicit details of his birth, aspects of his life and the manner of his death, you'd think I was mad... unless history proved me right.
Amazingly, this is exactly what has already happened in the birth of Jesus Christ. Every aspect of His birth was foretold hundreds of years in advance, and carefully recorded. Old Testament of the Holy Bible contains 456 specific prophecies relating to the life of the Saviour, some written more than 1,000 years before he was born. The incredible thing is that all of them were fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
The probability of all these prophecies being fulfilled by the birth of one man has been calculated to be so infinitesimally small that even eminent mathematicians and statisticians, such as professor emeritus of science at Westmont College Peter Stoner, have had to acknowledge that it is scientifically impossible to deny that Jesus is the Christ [= the Messiah]. It also demonstrates categorically that the Holy Bible is true. It must be God's word to us, because only God can speak with authority regarding the future.
The reason God foretold Jesus' coming so clearly was so that when he came we would recognise Him and believe in Him. The question is, do you believe in Him? The last prophecy given before He was born gives insight into the reason why He was born: "You shall call His name Jesus because He shall save the people from their sins".
Why is it of importance to you? What does this actually mean "to save people from their sins"? The fact that there is sin in the world today is evident to all. It is easy to point the finger and spot the sin in the lives of others. What we are more reluctant to do is admit that there is sin in our own lives, but if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you don't always live up to your own standards, never mind the standards that God sets.
Your sin prevents you from living a fulfilling life here on Earth and forbids you from entering into the fulfilling life that is available in heaven. There is no one on the planet, no method of religion and no level of good works that can remove your sin. That sin requires to be punished, and the only punishment determined by Almighty God is death. Not merely the physical death of your body, but more crucially, spiritual death. Condemned to an eternity, more terrifying and agonizing than imagination could comprehend.
But that is exactly why Jesus came, to save his people from their sins. He did this by dying in our place. God demonstrated his love for us, and then, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. His gift to us was His own son.
But what does this have to do with you, right here, right now? Just as you can choose to accept and receive a Christmas present or reject it and leave it, the same is true of God's gift to you. You have seen how Jesus was the fulfilment of ancient prophecies and is the only way God has determined to secure your eternal future. To reject Jesus Christ is to reject God's chosen one, and your only hope of eternal life. But to accept Him, not only ensures the forgiveness of your sins, but also the most fulfilling life imaginable. Life as God intended it to be for you. So the choice is yours. What will you do with God's gift to you?