Living Above Condemnation
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. - John 3:17
Where is the "merry" in "Merry Christmas"?
Where is the "joy" in "Joy to the World"?
Where is the "happy" in "Happy Holidays"?
Answer: The soaring gladness of Christmas is directly linked to God's gift of Jesus to us and for us.
The Son of God has come, Light has entered the world,
a Savior is here and our sins can be forgiven!
Apart from these glorious facts, there is no logic to the season's existence, much less for festive rejoicing. The day before us derives its meaning and highest fulfillment from this radiant reality: God is with us!
- We rejoice because Joy has come to earth.
- We give gifts because the Best and Grandest has been given to us.
- We feast because the Bread of Life has been provided.
- We sing carols of endless variety because all of life has been penetrated by The Song.
Still, amid all the brightness, innumerable souls remain shadowed. The power of human failure to stain the soul is immeasurable! Years afterward, darkness shades tomorrow's horizons. The impress of guilt leaves ridges in the mind, and in the valleys beneath them shafts of sunlight rarely appear. Condemnation is a dark demon which shrouds the soul, stifles hope, and suffocates confidence for tomorrow.
The lighting of our Christmas candles is a picture of an uncontainable joy that burns out these shadows of half-life and living death. This Christmas Eve we praise the One
...who came to break the back of condemnation
...who came to restore us to union with our Father Creator
...who came to cleanse and purify our souls through His cross
...who came to fill us with God's Holy Spirit
...who came to enable us to become all we were meant to become.
Joh's gospel records Jesus' words which explain the one reson condemnation remains in any heart: "This is the condemnation; that light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (3:19. In short, the only people who need bear condemnation from God are people who prefer their own way to His.
So, as you take your Christmas candle in hand, join me in a dual declaration:
- I need Your light, Lord Jesus--purge my soul and let me live in the warmth your light gives.
- I will share Your light, Lord Jesus--that having so freely received of Your love, I will spread the love-brightness You've ignited in me.
Sing it again...
The Light has come and the darkness can never be the same...O Hallelujah!
From Come...and Behold Him! Copyright 1995 by Jack W. Hayford. Published by Multnomah Books.
Our gift of this article by Pastor Jack Hayford is made possible by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online or call toll-free (800) 776-8180 to donate. (Outside the U.S., call (818) 779-8525).