“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’”
Luke 2:13-14 (NIV UK)
On Christmas Eve 1906, a former Edison engineer named Reginald Fessenden broadcast the first music ever played on the radio. The song he chose was “Oh Holy Night”. He played the opening on his violin, and then sang the rest—though he later admitted his singing wasn’t very good. But good or not, the words of the song rang true:
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Those words describe the incredibly important goal of Christ’s ministry: to break mankind free from our bondage to sin and to bring us back into God’s freedom through him. This new life was one that only Christ could fulfil. And he offers it to us, breaking the chains of our guilt in a way that religious rules and regulations never could. By his life, death, resurrection and ascension, Christ bought us out of slavery to sin. And through his precious atonement, he has given us the gift of abundant life with him.
See how Paul phrases it in Romans, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2 ESV).
We come to Christ with empty hands in order to receive him as our Saviour. We welcome the promised gift of his Holy Spirit to unite us to him. And by the transforming power of the Spirit we share in the Son’s life and eternal fellowship and communion with God our heavenly father.
This Christmas, we will celebrate God’s grace toward us through the incarnation of his Son. But as you celebrate, remember the greatest gift ever given was the one given to all of humanity: the gift of God’s free grace, through Christ. So, from all of us here at Grace Communion International, I want to wish you and yours a very happy and blessed Christmas.
Great God, Almighty Father, we marvel at the way you have planned and executed our redemption and salvation. The coming to earth of Very God Himself as a baby, to grow up to experience our world and our fallen-ness and sin, yet separate from it, so that your Son could reconcile us to you through himself…. Marvellous, miraculous and truly the message of Christmas! In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach, from Day By Day