11/12/17It is that season of the year again ….Christmas! Kampala, the Ugandan city in which I live is bustling with shoppers of all grades and sizes! Business has never been better for traders. Transport fares to the rural areas are doubling or even tripling, yet there is shortage of taxis and buses! Passengers are just too many as a large portion of Kampala city dwellers struggle to get back to their villages to spend the festive season with relatives and friends.
Christmas season in Uganda is a mixture of good and evil. I will not elaborate on the evils as they are similar to what happens elsewhere. But on the good side, the entire country, Christian and non-Christian, literally stops on Christmas day to remember Jesus! About a month to the day, all the hundreds of FM radio stations scattered around the country begin to play Christmas carols and other Christian music. One really popular song is Joy to the world.
Now, in my opinion, Joy to the world is one of the best phrases ever written to describe the true meaning of Christmas! Let me share with you why.
The Father’s love dream
In the beginning, Papa God had a dream that motivated Him to create mankind. It was a dream birthed out of His love-nature. The dream was that He would have a family, a people, whom He would love, and who would love Him. He was looking for intimate relationship. And so He created Adam and Eve, and it was a fabulous affair that went on between the first human couple and Daddy God as they got together every cool of the day to just be together (Genesis 3:8). It was a love relationship.
During that daily time with the Father, Adam and Eve didn’t have to ask for anything (God had provided for all their needs before they were created), or engage in ‘spiritual warfare’ (there were no demons attacking them), or repent (they hadn’t sinned yet), or intercede for others. It was simply family getting together to enjoy one another. The Father loved it; and the people loved it.
Papa God’s dream disrupted
But just when everything was going so well, the Father’s dream was disrupted when mankind succumbed to the devil’s temptation and ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden them(Genesis 3). Man sinned and sin brought a separation between God and mankind.
Instead of the loving intimate relationship God had envisioned, enmity erupted between God and mankind over sin. And so through most of the Old Testament, and especially after the enactment of the Law of Moses, we read how God would often came down heavy on people, judging and punishing them for their sins. God’s presence was shut up in the compartment of the temple called the Holy of Holies, and no man, however good, was permitted to walk in and freely fellowship with the Creator. God came across as being harsh, hard to deal with and aloof. It looked like the Father’s original love-dream was forever gone. But no, it wasn’t, thank God!
Jesus’ birth: signal to end the war!
You see, the Father had foreseen it all and He had developed a plan. His love dream must succeed. He loved man so much that He was going to do whatever it would take to restore mankind back to the place of intimacy with Him that He had in mind in the beginning.
That plan began to be practically implemented with the birth of the Lord Jesus. The angels who announced the Lord’s birth put it so well:
‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’ - Luke 2:10-11, 14.
The birth of Jesus was joy to the world because it signaled the practical beginning of the end of the war that had existed between man and God over sin. In pursuit of His love-dream, the Father provided a Saviour for mankind, who put an end to sin and therefore the enmity that sin had brought between God and man.
The Father made a very expensive move, the most expensive ever taken, to have back the intimate relationship that had been lost at the fall. That move meant His own Son becoming a man so that He could die the death that we deserved (Hebrews 2:9), and thus open the door for us to get back into intimacy of the Father. In John 3:16, the Lord Jesus stated that it was love that motivated the Father to do that: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’.
A mission of love
Jesus came to earth on a mission of love! He didn’t come because the Father was angry! Religion emphasizes the justice of God, but salvation was made possible by God’s love, not His justice. God’s justice demands that we must all spend eternity separated from God because we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). But thank God justice is not Papa God’s only attribute. Yes, He is just but He is also full of love for us. And in His love, He found a way that satisfied His justice without destroying us. That way was to send His Son into the world as a Man so that He suffered the punishment we deserved for our sins. In suffering, Christ fully paid the penalty our sins deserve. And now, when we believe that He has paid our sin’s penalty, we are freed from having to pay it ourselves. We are saved. We are forgiven. And being thus forgiven, we have access back into intimacy with Papa God.
The Savior is here
If you have a relationship with God today, it is because 2,000 years ago, a Saviour was born for you! He was born because the Father loved you so intensely that He paid the heaviest price ever just so He could have you as part of His family. You didn’t deserve it and neither do you now. You didn’t ask Him to do it, or even participate in it. It was His own initiative, birthed out of His nature of love (1 John 4:17). It was His grace. Your part now is to only believe!
You don’t have to pay for your own sins. Jesus has already paid for you. You don’t have to remain separated from God. You don’t have to continue living as God’s enemy. He has provided a Saviour for you. He loves you. He wants you. No matter what you have done or not done, Papa God calls you back into His Family, so He can love and care for you. All you have to do is respond positively to His grace by accepting the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. It won’t cost you anything except what is bad for you; and it will bring into your life a lot of good that you can’t have any other way!
Believe the love
This Christmas season, I encourage you to believe the love that God showed for you through the birth and death of His Son. God sent His son into the world to save you, not condemn you.
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved’ - John 3:16-17
God is no longer at war with you over your sin. At the cross, Jesus completely and eternally defeated your sin, and the sin of every person (1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:19). God is not your enemy! He is not mad at you! Whatever judgment you deserve, Jesus already took it. God loves you! Believe the love today.
The night Jesus was born, the angels announced in their song that God was declaring peace. To mankind who had hitherto been his enemies, God was saying, ‘Peace! Instead of war, I bring a Saviour’. God’s will for you is good! He is of good will toward you. He wants it well with you. He wants you to enjoy the quality of life that He Himself has. That life is found in knowing Him intimately through His Son Jesus Christ. It is what Scripture calls eternal life.
May this Christmas season be a time when you believe and enjoy the love of the Father. God is a good God. He is a God of love, grace and mercy! The Saviour has been born! Your sins have been paid for! God isn’t mad at you! Believe the good news! Believe the love …..and enjoy eternal life, the Father’s love-dream for you. The Saviour is born: joy to the world!