Embracing the True Miracle of Christmas

Candlelight, red poinsettias, and organ music playing familiar carols welcomed us into the Christmas Eve service. Miles from home I felt at home in this traditional church setting — until the minister spoke.

“Jesus came too soon,” he pronounced in somber tones. He listed all the reasons why we humans weren’t yet good enough for Jesus to come. He concluded as he’d begun. “Jesus came too soon. We weren’t ready for Him.”

I scanned the faces around me. Was anyone listening? The punch line never came. Didn’t these people know why Jesus came (Matthew 1:21)?

Did this minister think we could make ourselves good enough for Christ? Didn’t he know what the Scriptures say about the condition of the human heart apart from grace? 

Humanistic Pride Versus Biblical Humility

The minister assessed humankind and saw how we fall short. But he missed the depth of human depravity when he thought we could reform ourselves.

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one” (Romans 3:10-12 NIV).

Humanism says if we dig deep enough we’ll find good. We just need to try harder. But the Bible calls our righteous deeds filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and says no one in a fallen state even cares about pleasing God, let alone can. Our only hope is to admit our need and humbly receive God’s mercy and forgiveness.

The pastor’s premise on God’s timing was also wrong.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 NIV emphasis added).

We read of soldiers taking a bullet to save a fellow soldier. But I’ve never heard of one dying to save his enemy. Yet Jesus died for us while we were His enemies.

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10 NIV).

The marvel of Christmas isn’t that we weren’t good enough. The true miracle of Christmas is that God loved us while we were His enemies and sent Jesus to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness and bring us into the light. 

  • “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:22-24 NLT).
    .
  • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
    .
  • “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT).
    .
  • For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:8-9 NLT).

We can’t make ourselves good enough for God. Anyway, who wants self-righteousness when they can have Christ-righteousness? If we have Jesus, we have His righteousness. Now that’s a true Christmas miracle!

Speaking of new beginnings…

A fellow author in one of my writers’ groups has a new book that sounds perfect for starting the new year.

We Were Reborn for This: the Jesus Model for Living Heaven on Earth. 

“Reborn should be required reading for all Christians.”
Bill Myers, author of Rendezvous with God

In the face of tragedy and hate in the world, Christians have the answer.
What if we were born again for more? What if we were reborn to enter the brokenness of others with peace and hope?

Through inspirational stories, practical experience in the US and overseas, using the resurrection of Lazarus as a narrative framework, Britt Mooney explores why and how we can follow Jesus’ model for discipleship, entering the broken and desperate lives of others with scandalous compassion, supernatural power, and radical transformation.

The true miracle of Christmas is that God loved us while we were His enemies and sent Jesus to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness and bring us into the light. #Christmas Click To Tweet

Comment here.

Blessings,

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Joanne Viola

    “The true miracle of Christmas is that God loved us while we were His enemies and sent Jesus to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness and bring us into the light.” The last few days I have so been struck by the truth that He loved me while I was His enemy and He loves me yet, even though I still fall short. I am so grateful He came to rescue me. Still. 🙂

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Joanne, what amazing grace! It is beyond comprehension. God bless!

  2. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, you’ve reminded us of the reason we need the free, unmerited gift of salvation. I’m so grateful we don’t have to earn God’s grace. We never could. I love your conclusion: “We can’t make ourselves good enough for God. Anyway, who wants self-righteousness when they can have Christ-righteousness? If we have Jesus, we have His righteousness. Now that’s a true Christmas miracle!” Thank you.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thank you, Jeannie! What a savior!

  3. Linda Stoll

    Debbie, how hard and disappointing to sit in a church and wait for God’s truth to be proclaimed only to find it missing in action. may He continue to give us discernment on what and who we listen to. thanks for sharing this lesson with us …

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Linda, it is sad to think of how many have missed the reason Jesus came and pass on their misunderstanding. How grateful I am He found me!

  4. Ann Musico

    Oh Debbie how many times has some minister or priest shared their own version of the Gospel and those listening didn’t even realize it was not what the Word actually says? It’s sad and alarming. It’s happened to me and it’s always shocking when we realize this is NOT what God says and yet people may not even question it. It highlights how important it is to know the Truth! And that book goes on my list of must read!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Ann, I’m sure that is why Paul commended the Berean believers who checked Paul’s teachings with the Scriptures!

  5. Barbara Latta

    Debbie, thanks for sharing these Scriptures that prove Christ appeared at the right time. None of us will ever be good enough without Him. But with Him we are made His righteousness .

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Barbara, what He’s done for us is beyond comprehension!

  6. Gayl

    “The marvel of Christmas isn’t that we weren’t good enough. The true miracle of Christmas is that God loved us while we were His enemies and sent Jesus to rescue us from the kingdom of darkness and bring us into the light.” AMEN!
    It’s sad that the pastor of that service you attended didn’t seem to know that. Blessings to you, Debbie! I’m your neighbor at #Let’sHaveCoffee.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thanks, Gail. Yes, very sad.

  7. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, that minister’s words shocked me. As I read your post, I kept waiting for that punch line. When someone makes a statement such as that minister made, they are saying they know better than God. Actually, I guess it’s a matter of speaking in ignorance. You’re right. We can never make ourselves ready for God. He is the only One who can make us righteous. And yes, when we stop to consider that, even before we say yes to Him, He’s already loved us and made a way for us to know Him, through the birth and death of Jesus. What an amazing Father!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Yes, truly amazing! Thanks, Jeanne.

  8. Yvonne Morgan

    I agree that that minister missed the true miracle of Christmas. We will never be perfect enough for Christ and that is why we need Him. Through Him, we find a saving grace that leads to an eternal life with Him. Thank you Debbie

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Thank you, Yvonne.

  9. J.D. Wininger

    Another truth-filled post, that I pray reaches many deceived souls Ms. Debbie. I think the line that resonated with me the most was, “We read of soldiers taking a bullet to save a fellow soldier. But I’ve never heard of one dying to save his enemy. Yet Jesus died for us while we were His enemies.” I’ve seen soldiers die, on both sides, and you’re right. I have never witnessed an enemy combatant dying for their opponent. God did! Powerful. I’m sharing this with my veteran friends ma’am. Thank you!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      J.D., the realization that Jesus died for us while we were His enemies really resonates with me too. Wow! Beyond comprehension. And sadly, some of those for whom He died still reject Him.

  10. Paula Short

    Oh dear, I’m saddened that that minister felt that way. In essence he told the congregation and untruth. Your message is insightful and full of encouragement.
    Visiting today from Joanne’s

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Paula, I agree. Sad for him and those listening. God bless!

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