So far in this series, I’ve talked about how the Christmas story is a human story and a miraculous story, but none of that really matters if it’s not also a personal story. I love history and I’m definitely one to get into a great historical story, but those don’t change my life because they’re just that -they’re history. The Christmas story is historical, but it’s also very personal.
Jesus himself said it was personal.
Look at John 17:1-5. This is just after the last supper. He has given some last instructions to his disciples and has taken the time to wash their feet. (That's pretty personal, right?) He knows his accusers are about to seize him and he takes a minute to pray to his father. Look who he’s praying for here?
1 “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
It’s us! Jesus is about to be killed in the most humiliating and violent way and his prayers are about us. “Now this is eternal life: that they (we) may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” The Christmas story is a lot of things, but one of the most important things to remember is it’s a personal story. Jesus (as God) chose to come to earth so that he could deal with our sin problem once and for all. He came so that we could know him and the Father. Now, that’s personal.
In John 10:14, Jesus says,
“I am the good shepherd, and I know my own and my own know me.”
Ancient shepherds were with their flocks day and night. From the moment a lamb was born, they learned to trust the voice of their shepherd. They would even ignore or flee from the voice of a stranger. Not being around a lot of shepherds, this analogy can be lost on modern audiences, but Jesus was known as the good shepherd. How much more personal can it get than that? We should be in tune with his voice and flee from other voices that aren’t his. Imagine all the anxiety we could avoid if we were more in tune with the voice of Jesus in our lives?
If you find yourself this season thinking, “This is all well and good, but what does it have to do with me?” It has everything to do with you because our God made it personal when he became a person and died for you and me.
So, if it’s personal, what are we to do with it?
First, ask yourself if you’ve ever actually accepted Jesus. Don’t ask yourself if your Grandma has faith or even if you go to church. Those are great things, but they have nothing to do with the question of “Have you ever accepted Jesus?” You weren’t born a Christian and you can’t earn the title of Christian by being good enough (though that’s what almost every Hollywood movie about faith suggests.) You must humble yourself and say something like this to Jesus, “I’m a sinner and I need you.” It’s as simple as that.
If you are a Christian already, think about what that means in your life.
We shouldn’t look exactly the same as we did before Jesus now that he has saved us. 1 John 2:4 says,
“The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
In other words, if we don’t feel an urge to be like Jesus, there’s a chance we aren’t really believers.
Christmas is a unique time. People are asking the question, “What is this all about?” They’d have to because without the life-giving gift of a Savior, Christmas is just an overly busy time, with a ridiculous number of expectations, and people asking for your money at every turn. We have the privilege of sharing this message with those who have no personal connection to Christ and are who are made weary by this season. If they’re asking the question, we need to be ready with an answer full of grace just like Jesus is full of grace.
Think of the words in one of my favorite carols:
“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born.”
Our world is certainly not less weary today than it was 2,000 years ago, but when we truly understand the personal nature of the Christmas story, we rejoice. We fall on our knees and hear the angels sing of a Savior who came to save you and me. I pray you rejoice in that. Whether it’s your first Christmas as a Christian or your 80th. Tell someone the news. The world is weary and needs this personal message of Jesus.