“She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are
to name Him Jesus, because He will save
His people from their sins.”
– Matthew 1:21 (Holman Christian Standard)
Everything was perfect in my eight-year old world. Christmas was only a few days away and to say I was excited would be the understatement of all time. School was out for the next two weeks. Our home-grown tree was up and decorated as only a family of seven can do it. Colored lights, popcorn chains, ornaments of every size and shape, silver tinsel and the Virgin Mary smiling down from her perch on the top branch. The smells from the kitchen told me Mom was busy baking and I could almost taste the sugar cookies and cheese biscuits. There were still routine chores to be done on our farm, but Dad was around a little more than usual. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Santa knew exactly what I wanted and at the top of the list was a football uniform. I was convinced that uniform was all I needed to make me look and play like my favorite players. When the big day arrived I was not disappointed. Not only was the uniform there, it looked better than I dreamed. I couldn’t wait to try it on. Quicker than you could say Johnny Unitas, I was dressed with helmet in hand. The all-important Christmas picture was taken and I grabbed my football and burst out the door to play. As I slipped on the helmet and fastened the chinstrap, something didn’t feel quite right. I made a few adjustments without any real improvement. When I took the helmet off and gave it a good look, I realized it was warped. My heart sank with the realization that in his haste, Santa had left it a little too close to the fireplace when he took it from his bag. However, the disappointment quickly faded when I convinced myself that playing football was more important than the warped helmet. Perfection is a good goal but, it’s not a requirement.
Throughout the history of man, we have sought perfection and failed. Every day, we wear ourselves out trying to be perfect on our own terms and in our own strength. As we celebrate another Christmas, we should remember that while God created us, He did not make us perfect. By our very nature, we are sinful people. But thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. Through His grace and mercy, God gives us hope. That hope is found in the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Savior, He is our salvation from the sinful life we live. When God came to earth as a baby, He told us we don’t have to be perfect. He also told us we can’t earn His love, it’s a gift we can freely receive at any time. When we surrender to Him, a miracle happens! As the Holy Spirit works in and through us, though not perfect, we can be more than we ever imagined and God can be glorified. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Merry Christmas.
Thank you Father for this special time of the year. May we never forget that Your love for us came in the form of a little baby. That child, Your Son Jesus, is our hope from a life of sin. Help us to accept the gift and to give it away to others. Amen.