Shoeboxes for orphans, candy canes for Parker Street, Poinsettias for the elderly and plenty of programs and parties – these are activities that characterize life around the halls here at school during the holiday season. Oh, and hopefully some reading, writing and arithmetic as well! But really, what is the point? ‘Tis the season for what? How can we encourage our students to enjoy, but look beyond all the frenzy and fun of the Christmas holidays?
There is a passage in Hebrews that does a beautiful job of simply laying out the pillars of the Christian faith and what I believe defines the “Reason for the Season”, as we say. Certainly there is great cause for celebration as we consider the greatest gift ever given - the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He was sent as the Savior of the world, rescuing us from the debt owed because of our sin and rebellion against our Creator. Through Him, we who are guilty can now stand righteous and wholly forgiven before our Maker, reconciled to Him for eternity.
Hebrews 10:19-23 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
This is the good news of the gospel and gives us every reason to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.
However, there is mixed with this celebration cause for great sadness as well. The next few verses in Hebrews 10 point us to another very important distinctive of our faith and a very necessary component of the reason for this season. Verses 26-31 tell us, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Clearly, these are sober words that remind us that apart from the saving grace of the Christ child, sent to die for our offenses, we are destined to be separated from God forever. A humble admission that this is the truth about each one of us is a very necessary part of considering the “reason for the season”. It is because of our offenses toward our Creator that He sacrificially gave the greatest gift ever given. He sent His son to die so that we may live. Now, with a sad, humble admission of our sin and then a bold grasp of His grace, we have every reason to celebrate!
What will you talk about this year with your children as you make Christmas cookies, wrap presents to go under the tree and attend holiday parties? Does it seem odd to talk about sadness? Probably. But what a wonderful gift you can offer this year as you contemplate and share with others our “reason for the season”.
Merry Christmas, the Savior has come!
Mrs. Julie Rice serves as the Director of Enrollment at LCS. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.