What Brett Learned About Christmas
I just added an Epilogue to my ebook The twelve Days of Christmas. I wish I had put it in earlier. The book is about a man who decides to take a trip in an attempt to escape some bad memories associated with Christmas. Instead, he meets a young hitchhiker who helps him discover what Christmas is all about.
In the Epilogue I go into detail about the true meaning of Christmas. If you haven’t read my book, I hope you will. If you have read the book, or if you just aren’t sure what Christmas is really all about, here is the Epilogue:
Brett Riley, with the help of Grace, learned the true meaning of Christmas. You may think that’s about being generous or helping others in need. This is certainly something that we do in the spirit of Christmas, but it’s not the true meaning of Christmas. If you’d like to learn what Christmas is all about, read on.
“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” That question was famously asked by Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Linus answered him by reading from the Gospel of Luke, the key verse being “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Our Saviour was born. That’s what Christmas is all about. You may not think you need a savior. You may think you have everything under control and you’re a pretty good person, but that’s not good enough for God. You see, God is perfect in every way, and He requires perfection in us. Any deviation from that standard is unacceptable. That’s the bad news. The good news is that He sent His son Jesus to earth to make a way for us to be acceptable to Him. That’s what “gospel” means. It’s good news that follows bad news. As John writes in his Gospel, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)
Before Brett started on his trip, he didn’t see a need for God. He felt he should be in control, and he needed to be strong enough for whatever came his way. He was also carrying around guilt for not being there when his wife and unborn daughters needed him most. He would blame God one moment for letting that happen, and then immediately doubt God’s existence because of all the suffering he had seen, both in his own life and in his military career.
But, over the course of his twelve-day journey, and with Grace’s help, he opened his heart to the needs of others. By not focusing on himself he became open to the idea that there might be a purpose that transcended his own problems. As he listened for the first time to the words of those Christmas carols, he got it. While he had always known that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus, it was now personal to him. It was God reaching down from Heaven in the form of a baby. It was about God’s love for mankind. It was about God’s love for him.
God wants desperately to have a relationship with us in this life and in the life to come, but we can’t be in His presence in our condition. So, He made a way through His Son, Jesus. A little baby born under humble circumstances in a stable and placed in an animal’s feed trough. That little baby grew up and lived a perfect life—the perfect life that we could not live. He willingly laid down His life and died on a cross for you and me. When He died He said “It is finished,” which also means “The debt is paid.” He paid the debt for our sins so that God’s perfect justice could be satisfied. Perfect justice and perfect love coming together.
Jesus’ sacrifice for us is a free gift from God. There’s nothing we can do to earn it. It’s simply a change in mind that leads to a change in direction. It’s a decision to do our best to turn away from those things that we know would not be pleasing to God. We also need to recognize that no matter how hard we try, we could never be good enough for a God who is holy (perfect in every way). If we place our trust in Jesus as our savior, and don’t rely on our own efforts, God will look past our our sins. The word sin turns some people off, but it simply means missing the mark. It’s easy to miss the mark when the requirement is perfection. None of us are perfect and none of us ever will be. Fortunately, if we turn toward God, trusting in Jesus’ payment for our sins, we don’t have to be perfect.
John, one of Jesus’ disciples, summed it up very clearly. This is the same John that wrote the Gospel of John. In his first letter to the church he wrote:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:1-7
This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. You can hear how sincere John is. You know from his words that he walked with Jesus during the three years of His ministry. You know that he was there when Jesus performed miracles. You know he watched Him die on a cross. And you know he saw Him alive three days later after He rose from the dead, proving that He was the Son of God, the only one who could pay the penalty for our sins.
If you’ve never trusted in Jesus, it’s easy. Just acknowledge to God that you need Him and ask for Jesus to save you from your sins. You can do that through a prayer. There’s nothing magical about the prayer, but if you pray it sincerely, God will know. If you take that step toward Him, He will meet you half way and change your heart. You can then be assured that you can be with Him now and forever. That’s what Heaven is. It’s being in God’s presence forever. The opposite is Hell, which is being separated from God forever. What a terrible thought that is.
If you would like to have a relationship with God now and forever, simply pray this prayer from your heart:
God, I know that I am a sinner. Forgive me. I want to turn away from that and live a life that is pleasing you. I know I can’t do that on my own. I believe in Jesus, and that you sent Him to live the perfect life that I could not. I believe His death on a cross paid the penalty for my sins. Thank you, God. I am going to trust in what you have done, not in what I can do. Please direct my path and help me to be the person that you want me to be. Amen.
If you sincerely prayed that prayer, God will change your life. He will give you a hunger to learn more about Him through the Bible and in spending time with others who are followers of Jesus. He will give you a desire to live a life that is pleasing to Him, including telling others about Jesus. That’s what it means to be a Christian. If you sincerely prayed that prayer you are now a follower of Christ, and your life will never be the same.
May God bless you!