by Robin D. Foster, pastor
Second Baptist Church
When I was a kid, Christmas was a magical time. I enjoyed it all: from listening to the Christmas songs to setting up the tree with decorations. When I was 16, I bought my own tree to decorate. My mother gave me some ornaments and I used Dad’s old set of lights. I know that sounds weird for a 6’ 2” football jock, but I did say that Christmas was a magical time for me.
The summer of my 22nd year, I realized my sinful condition before the Lord and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. That Christmas was the last I would spend home before I married my lovely bride, and the first that I understood what all the celebrations and traditions of the season meant. It was no longer magical, but a truly spiritual time of year that touched me to the soul. And after 23 years it touches me even more on the reason why Jesus became flesh and dwelt among His creation.
Paul wrote to the Galatian Church: “When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” Galatians 4.4–5 (HCSB).
A major theme of Paul’s writings, in fact what I would argue as the heart of the Gospel, is that Jesus came and died for sinners (1 Corinthians 15:3, 1 Tim 1:15). In 1990, I truly understood that Jesus came and died for sinners; but more personally, He came and died for me. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, I began to see many of the traditional objects used during this time of year pointing to Christ’s gracious gift of salvation toward me and those who would accept God’s offer of grace and forgiveness.
The evergreen tree tells me that I have eternal life in Christ that will never be revoked (Romans 6:8-11). The lights on the tree and candles that burn point to the One True Light that shines in darkness, giving all those who hear the gospel and believe in His name the right to be called children of God (John 1:5, 12). The red and white colors used represent, respectively, the blood and purity of Jesus.
Nothing I have written is new to most who will read this, but what becomes more evident to me every day and every Christmas as I meditate on the truth that Christ died for me, a sinner, is that, throughout the year I don’t want to be known as a great husband, a fantastic father, good pastor, or even as a former blogger. Although those roles do have merit (frankly, some more than others), I would rather my life point to The God who came to take on human flesh for the express purpose of dying for sinners, of whom I am one. May the reality of Christ’s coming bless your Christmas!