Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Garth Young: Don't Forget Whose Birthday You're Celebrating

Today's blog was written by Garth Young, who shared his story on this blog last June. To read Garth's original posts, click here.

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And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10-11

I think it was the Christmas of 1987. I was in a terrible mood because of a disagreement with my parents over clothing I had purchased for myself to wear at the Christmas party. At the end of our heated discussion one of my parents said something that has stayed with me until this day: “Don’t forget whose birthday you are celebrating.” They were right.  My desire to be independent and make my own decisions was being influenced by selfishness and pride; my self-reliant attitude was disobedient and was causing me to look away from my most essential need.

I have no intention of dishonoring their memory.  They were very good parents who were morally upright, worked hard, and were doing the things they had been taught. But there is a good reason I still remember that insignificant blip of my life—we had never talked about the “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). I knew that Christmas was supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus, but what meaning and significance did it have for me? I have no memory of the topic ever being discussed at church or at home during my time at FOC.  But I have learned there is much to celebrate about the birth of Jesus for those who know him as Savior and Lord.

The shepherds were terrified when the angel appeared and the glory of the Lord shone around them, but the angel didn’t come to strike them with terror. The angel came to deliver the good news that had been so long in coming: the long-expected Savior has arrived. After hundreds of years without hearing anything from God the long silence has been broken with an angelic delivery, followed by a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men”. The awesomeness of the delivery is only superseded by the message itself— God is here and he is pursuing men.

If accomplishing salvation were up to us we would be lost and without hope, but we are not left on our own. God’s glory was visible on that day, and from his glory came the resounding themes of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. Jesus was born, and it is incredibly good news that produces great joy. The birth of Jesus marks the beginning of God coming in human form to rescue his people.
There is no better news than the gospel! It is a statement of how God has given the gift of eternal life, through the Son— for those who are his (those who put their faith in Christ). This is the only news that can make people happy forever.

The most important thing I have ever come to know is the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Knowing and trusting Jesus is the essential spiritual need of everyone because it is only His sacrifice that atones for sin.  There is no real hope or real joy in anything else.

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