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Preparing for the Best Christmas Ever

Remembering the roots of the season is the key to making this the best Christmas ever.

I love presents! I love giving them. I love buying them. I love getting them. The gift giving part of Christmas is one of my favorite parts, but a deeper celebration will create the best Christmas ever! When Christmas day is finished and all the relatives head back to their homes, when that last sentimental decoration is put away and the last bit of hummingbird cake has vanished from the counter, what will you be left with? Will you be left with regret, debt, and a few extra pounds, or could this Christmas be unlike any other you have ever experienced? Could you allow the spirit of Christmas to move beyond the usual traditions to a place of unusual meaning in your life?

Christmas, after all, started as a world-wide renewal of the soul. Jesus was not sent to encourage consumer confidence, be the life of the party, or decorate the town with snowflakes and reindeer. Jesus, the source of all Christmas celebrations, was sent by God for an infinitely higher purpose than anything resembling a modern holiday celebration. “Today in the town of David a Savior his been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” – Luke 2:11-12 (NIV). “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means ‘God with us’” – Matthew 1:21 and 23 (NIV).

Jesus came to be our Savior. He came to be Immanuel. God came to be with us!

“Savior” is an extravagant claim that is debated to this day, but it is a claim that has stood the test of time through the personal experiences of millions of people from every continent and country on earth. What does savior mean? What do we need to be saved from, anyway? The primary thing we need to be saved from is ourselves. Yes, it’s our own capacity for destruction, betrayal, anger, selfishness, pride, jealousy, etc., etc., etc., that we need to be saved from. Jesus saves us from our sin. Jesus is the presence of God walking with us, interacting with our soul, guiding our path toward goodness, wholeness, and generosity.

Sin is a joke in many circles. We tend to view ourselves as more sophisticated than the mind-numbed, religiously manipulated, party pooper, judgmental Bible thumper next door. We think it is often sin that gives us life, so we shun righteousness in pursuit of a vision of happiness. But sin steals life in the end. Sin steals happiness when fully formed. Sin causes all kinds of problems. Sin is serious. Sin is ugly. Jesus came to save us from sin.

So as we prepare for Christmas, we are preparing the way for a Savior who came into the world to free us from our sin. The best Christmas ever will not come because we have more money this year, make better sweet potatoes, or attend the perfect holiday gathering. The best Christmas ever will come because we take time to reflect honestly on our own sinfulness, trusting that the highest purpose of Jesus’ birth was to forgive our sins.

Make way for the presence and guidance of God in your life. Trust that Jesus is the Savior and that He does forgive sins. Get ready for the best Christmas ever!

Editor's Note: Ben Cathey is Pastor of

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