It has been a year during which long months have been spent experiencing isolation and separation so it is understandable that we are looking forward to seeing other people this Christmas.
Being reunited with those who love and care about us has a transforming effect. Stressful thoughts and worries are normally forgotten, replaced by smiles and laughter. Such Christmas cheer often reminds us that joy and happiness doesn’t come so much from the gifts we take home, but rather from the people who gave us them.
People and relationships matter greatly in life.
For Christians, Christmas is about more than being reunited with our families; it focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. His incarnation (taking on human form) signalled the fulfilment of God's great plan to reunite us with Him.
Why must we be reunited with God? Life itself comes from God. It is through Him alone “we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28 NLT). God created us in His own image, as relational beings, and implanted within our make-up a deep need for satisfaction that can only be found in Him. So, our relationship with God is the most important of all.
However, as a consequence of the sin of the very first man, Adam, we have all inherited a sinful human nature and are born separated from God. This is evidenced in the fact that, by our actions and attitudes, we choose to ignore Him in our lives.
Separation from other people throughout lockdown has been one of the most difficult outcomes to cope with, but we have all held onto the hope of it being reversed. The separation that exists between us and God is something we can never reverse by our own efforts or means.
God’s requirement for a relationship with Him on earth and for ultimately being with Him in heaven is sinlessness – perfection. No one can attain that in their life. Moreover, the cost of reconciliation to the just God of all the earth (Genesis 18:25) is a price beyond our ability to pay.
The good news of Christmas is that God, in great love and care, became directly involved in human history by sending His Son, Jesus, into this world to pay this price.
At Jesus’ birth, there was real joy and happiness among the shepherds when they heard that a Saviour had been born. The prospect of helpless sinners being reunited with God was a true reason for celebration. This possibility is still a reason for great hope and joy today.
Unlike us, Jesus was born perfect and sinless, yet some thirty-three years later He was crucified; He died to become our Saviour. At this time, Jesus experienced the full separation and punishment from God that our sins merit (the judgement that awaits everyone whose sins are not forgiven when life in this world comes to an end). Then, three days after His death, He rose again, demonstrating His power to save.
The greatest gift of Christmas is Jesus. He is alive in heaven today, ready to be our Saviour. To receive this gift, God asks us to turn away from the sinful things in our lives and trust in His Son; this brings complete forgiveness from God.
When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we experience the most amazing reunion of all – with God!
Sadly, Christmas family reunions will only be temporary (although we hope it won’t be long before we can return to regular family meet-ups). So often, too, the “Christmas cheer” can be short-lived as the worries and cares of our lives come to the fore again. However, the reunion with God that we enjoy through Jesus Christ changes our lives forever. God’s joy and peace, that He gives to us, does not fade when Christmas has passed.
Will you be reunited with God this Christmas?