“She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus . . . for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].” (Matthew 1:21 AMP)
Saying, Shouting, Screaming—
What does sin have to do with Christmas? Everything! The very reason Jesus was born. It’s not a pleasant thought. I’d rather think about decorating the house and sip coffee while listening to Christmas carols. Yet all around me suffering screams out for notice. I can’t ignore that something is horribly wrong. Life is painful, yet I put so much energy into avoiding this truth or finding relief.
Sin and evil are real. A friend recently explained that evil is the lack of the intended good. This really pierced my heart. It could be easy enough to point out the evil of others, but God in His grace points the finger back at me. I have a moral evil in my heart that needs to be eradicated. Yes, Jesus has saved me from sin, but the struggle remains to resist sinful choices, attitudes and even behavior.
Frustration reveals my lack of trust. Anger indicates a loss of love. Selfishness is the fear of lacking recognition, affirmation and validation of who I am. The list could go on, but it is helpful for me to think about how each sin points to a lack that was intended goodness. Contemplating this truth changes my mind when I am faced with temptation to sin, to offend, to tell God “I don’t need YOU!”
Sin is the foolish belief that I can make my own life better or good.
God’s love brings to my attention my ingrained tendency to refuse Him. His grace reaches out and asks me to trust Him with the struggle of living.
Today's reading from God’s Love Letters to You gives me hope as I face the truth that sin is real:
No matter how great your pain or how confusing and intense your suffering, live in the mystery of My love. Struggle to trust me.
Do not live with the priority of making your life in this world as good as you can make it. You will suffer, at times unfairly, but you will be given what you need to enter strongly and wisely with supernatural love into every circumstance you face.
Doing so will be your joy, your hope and you deepest fulfillment now as you look forward to a world where every child runs and laughs. (Crabb)