So why do we celebrate Christmas in the first place. For those who do not worship GOD, it is a time to be with family, to give and receive presents. Beyond that, this is just a day, a holiday, a respite. Christians do these things also, but we know (I pray that you know, that is) that there is much more to this time of the year that presents and festivities. The birth of this baby boy was the coming of the Messiah, called Emmanuel–GOD with us.
Why in the world does this matter? Why does the world need Jesus? Why did GOD come down from heaven and fully dwell in the flesh of a man, fully GOD and fully human? Sin. Sin is the exchange of the glory of GOD for earthly things, for false worship, false knowledge, self-adoration; Sin separates us from the Holy GOD that created us for the express purpose of glorifying and worshiping him. Jesus came to forgive sins and reconcile mankind to GOD.
This happened at the beginning of creation, when Adam and Eve first exchanged the glory and worship of GOD for self gain.
Genesis 2: 15-17
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Anything outside of the will of GOD is foolishness. It does not give wisdom or real wealth, or fulfillment. Instead it brings death. Eve doubted her creator. She thought she would gain “real” wisdom through some created thing, rather than the “false knowledge and wisdom” that came from the GOD. But Adam and Eve’s selfish pursuit of self worth and wisdom failed them.
Here is what Romans 1 says about the unrighteous, that is those who do not follow GOD through Christ, the one that makes unrighteous men righteous:
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
What now? Man has fallen. Man is separated from GOD through his own selfish desire, but can we do something do get back to him? Adam and Eve tried to remedy their newly discovered nakedness and shame by covering it up (“And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”) Was this enough? No. What GOD does next is a foreshadow of things to come. We see Adam and Eve try to cover up their nakedness on their own, they pass the blame to others and even to GOD himself. Then GOD spills the blood of an animal to cover them up. The first foreshadow of Christ sacrifice.
Read what happens in Genesis 3: 8-14 [words in brackets are mine, not scripture]
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. [they ran from GOD]
9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” [Adam and Eve traded the will and glory of GOD for what they thought was good, but received fear and shame.Also, notice that even though they had “covered their nakedness” they still felt naked.]
11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”[Here was a chance to confess, but instead they pass the blame on to other. This is what sin does, it leads to deceit and more sin.]
12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” [Adam blames both GOD and Eve for his own sin. Sin causes enmity between GOD and man. Man often blames GOD and circumstance, but the scriptures teach that not only does GOD not tempt or cause people to be tempted, but he provides a way out of temptation-James 4:4, Romans 8:7, James 1:13-15, 1 Corinthians 10:13]
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” [Eve also suppresses the truth, blaming the serpent.]
Adam and Eve had sinned, separating themselves from GOD. They brought death into the world. Christ came to bring life to those who were dead- EVERYONE. This is to say that, for those who accept the sacrifice of Jesus, and receive him as Lord, they gain life where there is death, wisdom where there was foolishness, light where there was darkness. They are saved from the wrath of GOD.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned- 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.