February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“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)
Every year, we celebrate Christmas. It’s a beautiful time of joy and good tidings. We decorate a tree, string up lights, sing carols, give gifts, and remind people that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But have you ever stopped and asked why He’s the reason for the season? Why is there a Christmas season at all? Why did Jesus come? For that answer, we have to go back to the beginning . . .
After having created the whole universe, the earth, the sun, moon, and stars, the seas, the trees, all plant and animal life in the air, on the ground, and in the ocean in the first five days, Genesis 1:26–27 (NIV) tells us on the sixth day, “God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.”
The crowning jewel of the Lord’s good and perfect creation, Adam, which is also the Hebrew word for “man,” was given life. But not just any kind of life, not like the animals. He wasn’t just spoken into being. Genesis 2:7 (NIV) says, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
It’s easy to pass this over, but it’s so important: Humanity was the cross section between earth and heaven, the natural (formed of dirt and earth by the hands of God) and the eternal (given life by the very breath and Spirit of God). This is what it means to bear the image and likeness of God.
We were made by God and for God, to know Him, to have relationship with Him, and to be with Him forever as His children. And Adam and Eve were placed in paradise, a beautiful, perfect garden, where they got to do just that! They got to walk with God, talk with God, and enjoy perfect relationship with Him.
But along came a serpent to plant a simple seed in their minds: God’s holding out on you . . . After that, even with limitless, delicious, perfect options all around, Genesis 3:6 (NIV) tells us “the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.” And just like that, with the promise of becoming “like God” (Genesis 3:4–5), Adam and Eve sinned—they disobeyed and rebelled against God. And according to Romans 5:12 (NIV), “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people” because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 (NIV).
In that moment, the breathe and spirit of life God breathed into them, died. Not only that, they also began to die slowly—aging and subject to disease and decay. They brought sin and death into the world, and every child born since then has been born spiritually dead and subject to physical death, doomed to return to the dust from which they were made. Why? Because sin separates us from a holy, perfect God. It creates a divide we’re incapable of crossing.
This is the very thing that makes Christmas so special! It’s the moment God came near to rescue “us from the dominion of darkness” and bring us “into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14 NIV).
Jesus is the reason we celebrate this season, and the reason He came was for you! He came to save you from sin and death by living the perfect life, free from sin, and paying the price for your sins by giving His own life. He paid the wages of sin in order to give you “the free gift of God,” which is “eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NLT).
Pause: Why is Jesus the reason for the season? What was Jesus’ reason for coming?
Practice: In your time of prayer today, simply thank the Lord for His wonderful gift as you reflect on how wonderful and deep His love is for you!
Pray: Father, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them” (Psalm 8:4 NIV)? We’re nothing and yet You gave everything to save us! I cannot express how overwhelmed with thankfulness I am for Your love and grace. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, the reason for this season I get to celebrate every year. Thank You for the love, grace, and salvation You lavished me with even while I was separated by my sin. You’re amazing and deserving of all the praise, honor, and glory. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.