Isaiah 62:11-12 "Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." And they shall be called The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought out, a city not forsaken."
All through Advent we prepared, many things got done, but in the end Christmas comes, not because we had prepared the way, but because God prepared the way. Christmas comes, the savior is born, but it was not we who came to God, but God who came to us. Many people are looking for salvation, many would do anything to save themselves. But Christmas is not about people coming to salvation, The story is rather of salvation coming to earth, and all people.
And this is such good news, that there is rejoicing and singing, praises and hallelujahís and above all Glory to God in the highest, and this too is Christmas, it is our response to a blessing come down, a blessing which has come to us. This is the Joy to the World, the good tidings of great joy.
The one thing we wanted, and the one thing we needed most has come to us, not because we had earned it, nor deserved it, but it has come to us by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
There are many things that come to us at Christmas; many cards, many presents. And many of these things are soon forgotten. They had been things we thought we wanted, things that people thought we needed, some last a day, some last a week, few are remembered after a month. And based on this, people begin to think that Christmas doesnít really change anything, its just another day, nice, but without real substance and meaning.
But those things which are forgotten, are, as it were, the ribbons and bows and wrapping paper, they are perhaps the tree and the trimmings, in other words, the things which are forgotten, are not the substance of what Christmas is, only the ornament, the gilding on the lily -- but the lily remains. You see Christmas does really change everything, and chiefly it changes us. But the change which Christmas works, is not always obvious to the outward eye. For the real work of Christmas begins in our heart, and thatís where God begins to work a change on us.
Our hearts had been captive, chained to sin death and the devil, they couldnít soar to the heights of ecstasy or sing the praise of God, all they could feel was lost and forlorn, for they could see the weight of our guilt, and the number of our sins. And there is no hope is the wages of sin. But Christmas comes, and God brings salvation to us, and God set us free, free from sin, free from death, and in that moment, our heart was set free to joy and singing. Once we were captured and forsaken, but not we are redeemed, saved, and set free. Once we were sinners, but now the blood of Jesus Christ has been given and shed for us, and our sins are forgiven and we have the peace of God which passes all understanding.
Every year, Christmas continues to work its change on us, but its from the inside out. Finally, God calls us, and the last bit of the old outward nature falls away, and we find ourselves with God in glory, enjoying life everlasting, prepared for us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And this is how we become Godís holy people, Christmas by Christmas, day by day, as God creates in us clean hearts, and renews in us right spirits, daily repenting of our sin, and daily receiving forgiveness.
And because only God can see what is going on in our heart, God calls us to share with all the good news of salvation which comes to us, and to tell the story of God at work in our lives, and to encourage all, and one another, to continue steadfast in faith, in love and in the service of the God who has done so much for us in Jesus Christ.