Christmas Day is an occasion for unwrapping gifts. I can’t think of any more needful or comforting gift than the first Christmas gift, our Lord Jesus. God speaks into the brokenness of our world, not just through his words, but by sending his Son. Through Jesus, he is present with us.
That child in the Bethlehem manger can bring you more comfort than you can imagine. The Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is able to empathize with our weaknesses, because he was tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin (Heb. 4:15). You might sometimes feel utterly alone; like no-one understands the pressures, burdens, and temptations that you go through. But Jesus understands. He has been there. He walked the road of human troubles before you did. Your burdens are not secret to him. You can talk with him about them.
However, Jesus doesn’t just offer us empathy, he also offers us mercy and grace (Heb. 4:16). As much as we try, we can’t heal our own brokenness. But he can. The baby in the manger became the man on the cross. He took upon himself our own sin and brokenness. That’s why he’s able to forgive you, and to offer mercy and grace. This is the incredible gift of infinite cost that has no expiry date – the gift that we most need.
Maybe, like me, you feel weary. The last year is something most of us would not like to repeat. But I’m not just weary of the world’s brokenness. I’m weary of my own brokenness: my character defects, broken promises, besetting sins, and settled idols.
Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection guarantees that there will be a day when that weariness will end. Those who follow Jesus will live in perfect peace, righteousness, and rest; and there will be no more sin.
Christmas is a guarantee of help and comfort for you now and a guarantee of what is to come. Above everything else, this is the Christmas gift to cherish.
On behalf of the staff and Council of St Andrew’s, Megan and I wish you a wonderful Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.