Did you lay in bed like most kids on Christmas Eve wondering if you were getting coal that year in your stocking? Your parents threatened you a hundred times, especially in December.
Maybe you stuck gum in your sister’s hair or stole a quarter from your mother’s purse to go to the candy store. You tried to be good again after your indiscretions, hoping it would erase them from Santa’s naughty list.
Now you’re not sure if you’re on the naughty list or the nice one?
Fast forward twenty years…
Are there are days when you wonder, “God what are you doing? ” Because your world doesn’t always make sense. Have you ever looked at other peoples situations and asked yourself why their life was so much better than yours?
Maybe you followed all the rules.
Obeyed the Ten Commandments.
Prayed every day.
You did everything you possibly could to be a “good” person. Then one day you are walking down the street and run into someone you knew from way back. You strike up a conversation and swap stories of your kids and catch up on the past few years.
You soon realize that this person is the opposite of you: they have broken almost every rule in the book and then had the gall to brag about it.
They are the bad boy or girl.
They love displaying their badge of rebellion and gloat about all their grey coloured adventures. To your jealous and envious annoyance, they also go on trips around the world and have the most exquisite cars and houses…
You walk away discouraged and hop in your car and sit there for a minute. You think about your life and how you tried to obey God at every turn, and now your child is sick, your home is being repossessed, and your marriage is crumbling.
“Why is Debbie living a selfish life and her kids are still healthy, and she’s wealthy to boot?”
You’ve asked yourself this many times.
We can obey God at every turn and still have a life that sits like a puddle around our feet. Our wealth, health, opportunities are not always a reflection of the right and wrong in our lives.
God is not Santa Claus.
Surprisingly, many of us grow up believing he is.
If we are good, God gives us good things: if we are bad, he gives us bad things.
He’s always watching.
Watch out Johnny, if you mess up God is going to get out his big stick, and you are going to get a blow like you’ve never seen before.
So we try to be good…really good. We don’t want to get a lump of coal in our stocking.
Our good deeds are going to erase the bad we’ve done. So we put out good deeds like Nike puts out running shoes. We hope to cover all those terrible things we have done.
Somehow we can make the slate clean again.
Then we mess up and have to start over again. It’s a never-ending cycle, and for some it’s exhausting.
God was always watching and saw the people he created and loved, struggle so hard to be good… but fail repeatedly:
No one in the world was good enough.
Everyone deserved an extra big lump of coal.
God came up with a plan, one that would hurt him more than it hurt his children.
One day he decided to send his perfect son to earth to fix this world problem. God saw a lovely girl, Mary, and he sent an angel to tell her she was going to birth the son of God in human form.
Imagine, knowing you were created no different than all the rest of mankind but are asked to carry God’s son in your womb.
Mary felt undeserving of having God’s son live in her for nine months… and she was. She obeyed God and loved him, but she was human.
Her fiance Joseph almost broke off their engagement when he heard she was pregnant because he assumed it was an illicit affair.
An angel visited him in his sleep:
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1: 20-21
Many months later in a stable, in the most unlikely and inhumane way, a Saviour was born.
He was born for every nationality, for both men, women, and children and for every sinner, from liar to murderer. His mother Mary, as she cuddled him close, didn’t know he would one day die a brutal death and be crucified on the cross, for you and me, to cover our sins.
God left out no one. He made the way perfect, and yet he made it simple.
Faith. Forgiveness. Love.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Like Mary, we are undeserving of having Jesus Christ live within us. But that’s what God wanted…to give us something we never earned or deserved.
This is the first verse of the song, Mary Did You Know, written by Mark Lowry:
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
A gift for Mary and for us.
We were freed from good deeds and being perfect. We were now under grace. We could obey God and do good because we loved him, not because we feared him or his punishment.
This Christmas you too can give up the thoughts of getting coal in your stocking and accept the gift of forgiveness.
It’s free to you because Jesus Christ paid your way to have eternal life one day in heaven, with his blood…and mountains of love.
Today can be the last day you ever try to earn your way with good deeds and being perfect.
Salvation was for you.
Yes you, the person who thinks they sinned too much. Stole too much. Murdered too much.
No sin is greater than the power Jesus blood has to cover it.
This is love.
Pure and simple.
A baby born to cover a multitude of sins.