CLINT DECKER: Sin – the reason for the season
Legendary country singer Johnny Cash is one of many artists that have recorded the famous Christmas carol, “Silent Night.” I can usually get the first verse by memory, but the second I always need a little help. It goes like this, “Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly hosts sing, “Alleluia! Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!”
Savior. It is a word that shows up in many Christmas carols and it is used a lot around Christmastime. Jesus’ name means “Savior” and it conveys the idea of to save or deliver.
Jesus was a Jew, and in His culture the meaning of someone’s name carried great significance. It was not given to Him by His parents though, as was typical. In a stunning event, an angel from heaven announced a message from God to Joseph and Mary, saying they would have a child and “... you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
This beautiful and miraculous little baby was destined to grow up and provide a way for all mankind to be delivered from their sins. This is where the American version of Christmas loses some of its glitter. It is a statement of truth to say, sin is the reason for Christmas. If there was no sin, there would be no need for a Christmas Savior.
Sin is an unseen spiritual element that lives in each of our souls. It is an evil that dwells inside us. This mysterious presence reveals itself with every subtle lie, burst of anger or gleaming sign of pride we show. It condemns us before our Creator to eternal death. This is who we are, but most likely we cannot imagine thinking about ourselves this way when opening Christmas presents, gathering for holiday dinners or solemnly singing Silent Night.
We generally think of ourselves as good people. Not perfect by any means, but to say evil lives within us and that we are sinners sitting under the judgment of God, does not sound very merry. Even so, it is true.
The good news of Christmas is that Jesus came to deliver you from your sin. He grew up to suffer, die, be buried and rise again from the dead. When He rose, He conquered sin and death. He rose to give you a new heart, new mind and new life.
The good news of Christmas is truly good, but you cannot appreciate it until you understand and accept the bad news about your condition. No matter how you think of yourself. No matter how others perceive you. Before God you are a sinner with a dark and evil heart. When you accept that, you will begin to understand why Jesus was born to be your Savior. Then you will behold the glory and wonder of Christmas like never before.
A prayer for you to pray – “Lord God, help me to see myself as you see me. I am a sinner with a dark and evil heart. Help me to see how Jesus came to be my Savior from my sin. Oh God, forgive me. Take my life. Change me. Be the Lord of my life this Christmas. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”