In our Wonder series, I preached this morning from another unusual Christmas passage, 1 Timothy 1:15 : “This saying is trustworthy and deserving full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.”
Jesus didn’t come for happy, shiny, Hallmark Channel Christmas movie people. He came for sinners– messed-up, broken, bruised, rebellious, self-exalting, law-breaking, idol-making sinners with indelible marks on their permanent record. Like me. Like you. Sinners snagged in the gears of a broken world, or in the whirlpool ripples of their sin or somebody else’s.
That’s who Christ Jesus came for. Christmas–the prophets, Bethlehem, the Baby in the manger, shepherds, angels singing, magi gifts– all of it is for sinners.
I came across this that expresses the same thought
Christmas—the great story of the incarnation of the Rescuer—is for everyone, especially those who need a rescue. Jesus was born as a baby to know the pain and sympathize with our weaknesses. Jesus was made to be like us so that in his resurrection we can be made like him; free from the fear of death and the pain of loss. Jesus’ first recorded worshipers were not of the beautiful class. They were poor, ugly shepherds, beat down by life and labor. They had been looked down on over many a nose.
Jesus came for those who look in the mirror and see ugliness.
Jesus came for daughters whose fathers never told them they were beautiful.
Christmas is for those who go to “wing night” alone.
Christmas is for those whose lives have been wrecked by cancer, and the thought of another Christmas seems like an impossible dream.
Christmas is for those who would be nothing but lonely if not for social media.
Christmas is for those whose marriages have careened against the retaining wall and are threatening to flip over the edge.
Christmas is for the son whose father keeps giving him hunting gear when he wants art materials.
Christmas is for smokers who cannot quit even in the face of a death sentence.
Christmas is for prostitutes, adulterers, and porn stars who long for love in every wrong place.
Christmas is for college students who are sitting in the midst of the family and already cannot wait to get out for another drink.
Christmas is for those who traffic in failed dreams.
Christmas is for those who have squandered the family name and fortune—they want “home” but cannot imagine a gracious reception.
Christmas is for parents watching their children’s marriage fall into disarray.
Christmas is really about the gospel of grace for sinners. Because of all that Christ has done on the cross, the manger becomes the most hopeful place in a universe darkened with hopelessness. In the irony of all ironies, Christmas is for those who will find it the hardest to enjoy. It really is for those who hate it most.