The Christmas classic ballet, The Nutcracker, spins the tale of a wooden nutcracker whose fight against the evil Mouse King transforms him back to a prince. The true Christmas story is far more miraculous and magnificent: the Prince of Peace took on human flesh, conquered sin and Satan by His death and Resurrection, and reconciles sinful believers to the holy God.
As the Son of God, this Prince has reigned in harmony with His Father from eternity past. The Bible begins with the truth of the Creator: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Gospel of John begins similarly and identifies the Agent of Creation as the Son: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1–3).
At Christmas time, we celebrate the day that the eternal Creator entered His creation. The Creator who stretched out the heavens was laid beneath them in a manger. The limitless Son of God took on human limitations. As a baby, Jesus depended on Joseph and Mary for care and nourishment. Yet the humility of His incarnation did not detract from the glory of His deity: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Although full of glory, the Lord Jesus was not welcomed, even from birth. The Baby’s cradle was a manger because no proper room could be found. Lowly shepherds visited the newborn Savior. King Herod sought to kill Jesus by ordering the slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem. Creation neither knew nor received their Creator: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:10–11).
The same rejection happens today as “Merry Christmas” is replaced with “Happy holidays,” and nativities are banned from public display. These outward changes are a sign of hearts that refuse Jesus. People hang Christmas lights yet hide their eyes from the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). Why? “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19–20).
The reason so many reject Jesus, the “light of the world” (John 8:12), is because they love the sin that Christ’s light exposes. Sinful mankind would rather cling to their independence, immorality, idolatry, irreverence, and indulgences than turn in repentant faith to Jesus as the only Savior from sin and Lord of life.
Many continue to reject the Prince of Peace, and the enemy, Satan, “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), strives to blind men from the light: “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
But there is hope. God the Father makes rescue missions into dark enemy territory: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14). Redemption means to free by paying a ransom. Christ gave His life as a ransom to the Father by dying in the sinner’s place (Matthew 20:28; 1 Peter 2:24).
The Son willingly gave Himself to be laid in the manger and later laid on the Cross. In his book God’s Gift of Christmas, John MacArthur writes, “Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. . . . Jesus was born to die.” Yes, Jesus was born to die for sin and rise in victory.
The sinner who receives Jesus becomes a child of God: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13). Because of Jesus’ birth into this world for redemption, the sinner can be born into the family of God. That’s reason to celebrate at Christmas and throughout the year!
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