Throne to a Manger

What is the true meaning of Christmas? What lies at the heart of this great holiday? Trees decorated, wreaths on doors, pretty lights, presents wrapped in silver and gold, good food, festive music and time with family. It’s a fairytale picture! But what’s the real purpose? Have we overlooked the profound blessing of Christmas and what unfolded to spare us from an eternity apart from God due to our sins? While most of us are familiar with the narrative of Christ’s virgin birth, have we truly reflected on the profound sacrifice involved? God sent His Son, Jesus to leave His Heavenly throne, taking on flesh and being placed in a manger. The Son of God went from gold to hay! From a thrown room to a barn! From a royal robe to a swaddling rag. From the King of glory to humble birth.

What was the reason for this madness? Simply put, it was to permanently end Satan’s curse on humanity. Compelled by love, Christ was the only One who could pay the price for our sins. Jesus didn’t come as a King to lord over His people; He came as a humble servant willing to do His Father’s will and pay the penalty of man’s sin. He came not only in obedience to His Father but also fully aware of the penalty He would have to bear. Born of flesh in this broken world, Jesus would be tempted like we are but lived a perfect life free of sin proving that Satan has no authority over Him! We often forget the dual nature of power and humility embodied in Jesus’ coming. God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, came to earth in the form of man to pay the price for my sin. As He walked in flesh, experiencing temptations like we do, He remained without sin, demonstrating that sin wields no power over a Holy God.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

For a time, He left His heavenly throne to walk among us. In the short stint of 33 years that He spent on earth, Jesus unequivocally demonstrated His power and majesty to all. He healed the sick, brought the dead back to life, turned water to wine and much more —all the while revealing the profound truth about our Heavenly Father and His boundless love for us! Jesus’ coming, most importantly, put a permanent end to man’s separation from God through His sacrificial death. His death stands in stark contrast to the ordinary human experience of death. The price Jesus paid on the cross can’t be described in a paragraph or two. (That’s for next week). The price Jesus paid because He loved us should never be discounted! I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner! Before I knew who Jesus was, sin controlled my life. I lived each day controlled by my flesh. When Adam sinned, he brought death to all mankind! We, as men, inherit Adam’s sin nature!

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break (Romans 5:12-19).

Yep, all of us did! No matter how good we think we are, we are born into sin. Some guys feed that nature; some do better jobs of suppressing it but we are ALL sinners and all fall short of God’s glory! Romans 3:23-24 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Adam’s sin led to separation between God and man and his removal from paradise (the Garden). Like Adam, one sin removes us from heaven’s list! We went from a heavenly destination to hellbound! Yes, we can blame Adam who succumbed to sin but when was the last time we did the same? But God being rich in mercy, had already worked out our salvation.

Even before Jesus was born, our salvation was being worked out! Why did the wise men travel thousands of miles and the shepherds leave their flocks and rush to Jesus’ side? Because they knew the Savior had come! They understood that the curse of sin, introduced by Adam and carrying the penalty of death and eternity in hell, could now be permanently corrected by the birth of our Savior. This is why the wisemen gave gifts! These gifts were not to each other but to the Savior! So as we give gifts to each other let us not forget that the ultimate gift was given to us at Jesus’ birth! Upon accepting Jesus as my Savior, my sins and their penalty have been addressed and are no longer held against me. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Let’s remind our kids that the presents under the tree will only last until next year but the gift of salvation is for eternity – that’s how big God’s Love is! Christmas may be over but His gift is forever!

Steve Thomas