Jesus told us that, “… God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-18).”
Did you receive any not-so-great gifts this year at Christmas? The sad thing might not be that someone bought you the gift as much as they thought you would like it, does that make sense?
I always hate the “family” gifts. You know the ones that have that little tag that says, "To: The Ansell Family" and "From: Blah, blah, blah." I never want to open those. In fact, I tell the kids, go ahead, you can unwrap that gift.
I know Christmas is over but I think that’s the point. Christmas, Jesus is a great gift that should validate you. I think everyone needs validating, we need to know that we are noticed, valued and striving to participate. The baby in the manger says, "To: You, "From: God." It’s very personal, there are 7.8 billion people in the world, and you are one of those 7.8 billion people and so God sent Jesus to you. In other words you matter to God. Validation!
I love it in "A Christmas Carol" when Scrooge’s dead business partner Marley shows up and says, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Christmas begs us to ask: What’s God business? The business of God is mankind, you are of mankind so you are the business of Christmas.
The gift of Jesus not only validates your existence but it validates you as a specific person, the gift says, “I know you. I know all about you. I know your doubts and your fears. I know what you worry about. I know you believe but you need help with your unbelief. I know what keeps you up at night. I know the good stuff and I know the not-so-good stuff and I still love you very much.”
But Ken, you don’t know me, you don’t know my secrets, I’m not a very good person. Listen, none of us is good, some of us are just better at being fake.
Do you remember the woman caught in adultery in John 8? When Jesus told her accusers to cut her some slack and put the rocks down, he looked at her, probably lying in the middle of the town square, undressed, embarrassed, crying, dirty, angry and said, “No one has condemned you, go and sin no more.” This is what Jesus does for us in our biggest failures. Jesus picks us up, dusts us off and tells us to go and sin no more.
Sometimes - if not most of the time - we don’t need another sermon or another Bible study, we just need to know that God loves us. Shepherds matter, manger scenes matter, theology matters, orthodoxy matters, mission and purpose matter, but sometimes we just need Christmas to remind us that we matter. He told me to tell you that.