Tuesday December 3
Many of us spend decades searching for our life’s purpose. Jesus’ purpose was defined before he was even born when an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him: “you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21, NRSV).”
Saving people from their sins is pretty heavy purpose to place an on newborn. Most new parents today would be ecstatic if an angel appeared to them and said, “Your child will grow to have nice family, work in a nice job, and attend a nice church.” Of course, Jesus’ isn’t your run of the mill newborn.
Sin is big idea to define which is often difficult for those raised outside of church to conceptualize. However, sin is easy to identify in our lives. We all experience the tendency to self-sabotage the best things in our lives and to lash out at others. When we do so we force misery upon ourselves and we damage our relationships. If we go far enough, we can even severe some of our relationships beyond the point of repair.
To understand sin, all we have to do is add God to this description. When we stray from God’s ways, we damage our relationship with God (and risk severing it eternally) in addition to forfeiting many of the good things God has placed in our lives.
But Jesus came to save us from our sins by showing us we are defined by God’s love and grace not our character defects. That’s the thing about a baby. Anyone in their right mind loves a baby unconditionally – just because it is – in its very being we recognize it as inherently worthy of love.
In giving us himself in the form of a newborn child, we are to see the nature of a God who believes we are worthy of His love, not because of our perfect behavior, but simply because we are his people, his creation, the apple of his eye. When we find our worth in this God and our redemption through the gift of His son, sin loses its power over us because while it can still derail our earthly plans we live in the confidence that it can no longer derail God’s eternal plans for us.
Prayer: God, you call us out of the depth of our sin with the beauty of your love. You save us from shallow self-important lives and call us to live in mystery of your mercy. Help us this Christmas to remember that you have given us purpose greater than we would have picked for ourselves. We have been saved so that we might know you, serve you, and above all love you. As we confess our sins to you allow us to do so in the confidence that though our sins are greater, your grace is infinitely and eternally greater. Amen.