I lost my temper last week and said some pretty mean things. That was a sin. The penalty for that sin is death and eternal damnation.
Pretty harsh, that. I mean, we condemn countries in the Middle East when they chop off the hand of a thief, so in the big scope of things, losing one’s temper and saying something hurtful is small potatoes. But the penalty remains—death and eternal damnation. The death part I don’t mind so much. I don’t like it, but it was coming sooner or later. But that eternal damnation part… I don’t know exactly what damnation is really like, but I know that it is far from good. And it is eternal.
But don’t pity me. We’re all in the same boat, you and I together. Every one of us have sinned—and not just once (not that that even matters). The fact is that God is perfect. So perfect that we can’t even comprehend what perfect means. God is perfect and is surrounded by perfection.
Although it sounds poetic to say that we get to heaven by being good, the ugly reality is that it’s not true. Ever since Adam, we are all born into sin—never even had a chance. Even if we had a chance it wouldn’t do us any good. Even without the born into sin thing, we simply can’t be perfect. Since Adam, every single human ever created has been sentenced to death and to eternal damnation. Harsh indeed!
That is the Reason for the Season.
We sinners love Christmas. We love the pictures of sweet baby Jesus surrounded by the friendly animals and the choir of angles. We sing sweet lullabies and give each other candy and gifts. We decorate our homes and our offices and wish each other Peace on Earth! Christmas is indeed our most joyful holiday by far.
But God did not send his Son so that we could have a holiday. He sent him to die.
Jesus was born a man. A human being who walked, talked, and thought like the rest of us. Jesus went through the terrible two’s, adolescence, His awkward teenage years. He felt human emotions like longing and rejection. He laughed and cried. He felt the love and devotion of thousands of admiring followers as well as their scorn and ridicule. He felt temptations like we cannot imagine and finally a brutal execution and the worst, being totally cut off from God.
Because He did this for me, I have a full and complete pardon. My sentence of eternal damnation has been lifted. A stay of execution has been granted. I am no longer a condemned man. God welcomes me to live with Him in perfection. For this I will rejoice with all of my heart. I will sing God’s praises and thank Him for His wonderful gift. I ask you, what gift could be more perfect for a condemned man?
I will forever keep Christmas in my heart, but I will always remember…
the Reason for the Season.
About the Author: David Brugge is a Layman at Trinity where he serves on the Board of Elders. He attended St. Paul’s College High in Concordia, MO. and Concordia College in Seward, NE.
This article was originally published Nov.26, 2002