There is one aspect of Christmas that I feel is not given enough thought. We talk much about the unspeakable gift, our Savior. But maybe it would be good to back up a little. Let’s look at ourselves in the light of Scripture. The last thing the ungodly man wants to do, especially at Christmas time, is to examine himself and consider his sin, how much he deserves to go to hell, and what a slave he is to sin. But the child of God knows that before he can appreciate his Savior, he must see his sinful condition before the Most High God. The Form for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper teaches us that this is necessary: That everyone consider by himself, his sins and the curse due to him for them, to the end that he may abhor and humble himself before God: considering that the wrath of God against sin is so great, that (rather than it should go unpunished) He hath punished the same in His beloved Son Jesus Christ, with the bitter and shameful death of the cross.
God gives us earthly pictures in the Bible of how we are to see ourselves spiritually. By His miracles He shows us that we are blind, lame, halt, maimed, deaf, leprous and even dead. We have to see that we are the bride of Christ who, rather than keeping ourselves pure and holy for our Husband, go out and hire lovers to commit whoredom with, (Read Ezekiel 16). These pictures show us how we really are corrupt and depraved. Then we see how much we need a Savior.
The angel’s announcement, “for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21) can’t bring us comfort and joy if we are not grieving, burdened and despairing because of our sins. It is only the one who is aware of his desperate need of salvation, his utter helplessness and his unworthiness before God who can rejoice in the birth of his Savior.
When we first see the need of our redemption, then, and then only, can we experience the joy of the birth of the Savior with Simeon and Anna and the few saints of that day. We, too, can then say with them (Luke 2:29, 30, 38): “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.
. . . And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.’’
We are told in passages from Scripture that the birth of Jesus Christ was the birth of our Savior. Imagine the shepherds being told by the angel, “For unto you is born. . .a Savior.” How comforting and how personal this was. Their Savior had come. That is our comfort too, as we see in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.”
Look also how personal the Catechism is: “What is thy. . .that I. . .not my own. . .my faithful Savior. . . satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me. . .my heavenly Father. . .my head . . .my salvation. . .assures me. . . makes me. .
Also, the Canons, 2nd head, Art. 2, “. . .He hath been pleased in His infinite mercy to give His only begotten Son, for our surety. . .for us and in our stead. . .on our behalf.”
So let’s ponder all these things in our hearts that we may glorify and praise God as did the shepherds of old.
Have a blessed Christmas!