It’s Christmas 2017.
Bells are ringing, lights are flashing, people are singing, bellies are expanding and kids are getting very excited. Yet, while all of this is happening, the current events in our world continue almost unaffected by the festivities.
This Christmas we turn on our televisions and find that politicians and celebrities are being accused of all sorts of illegal indiscretions. Australia has just voted to legalize homosexual marriage and now the freedom of speech debate is escalating. A cake maker is being sued for discriminating against the LGBT community and a donut shop is under similar pressure. Racial tensions are higher than they have been in many years and much of the world’s academia continues to portray Christians as uneducated bigots.
We all see that which is closest to our situations. These problems described are a small selection of things that dominate media in the western world. As we look more carefully and also take a wider scope we see other problems like starvation, abuse, tyranny, corruption and a never-ending list which increases in a global context.
We might lobby the government for more friendly legislation toward freedom of religion and speech. We might speak with a rallying cry for moral reform. We might even look beyond our own backyard and seek better policies for human aide.
And what if we were successful?
We might solve all the problems and still never solve the problem. We might have victory over all of our human enemies and forget the enemy of all humans.
I am not saying that we should be silent about these issues or that we shouldn't care at all. But if you are speaking against human enemies more than your concern about the enemy of all humans, you have a serious misunderstanding of the real problem. I have noticed that in the west it is a particular temptation for Christians to call out those who are against them with great disproportion to proclaiming the answer to that which is against us all (particularly on social media). The definition of both the real problem and answer is found in the name of a Baby born in Bethlehem.
“…and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Sin is our problem and Jesus is our answer. Those who trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation can be saved from sin and reconciled to God. The moment we prioritize any other problem, cause, or person over every single person’s problem of sin, we miss the mark on the solution. We miss the target of the gospel. We miss the center of Christmas.
Christmas time is the time to start by looking at the sin in our own life and our need for Jesus. Christmas time is the time to stop looking at the crowd as our enemy and start speaking to people about the one enemy of us all. And then use the name of the one who came to "save his people from their sin." This is what his name actually means. The name of Jesus.
The Naming of THIS baby, pinpointed our problem and provided our solution!