“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” Isaiah 53:5-6, NIV).
Many know the sadness of a lonely Christmas. For others Christmas is a time of joyous celebration. But how often, when we celebrate His birth, do we dwell on the reason He was born? If we did, perhaps the gift of His life would change our hearts. God became personal when Jesus came into the world. God, who was not human, became human for us. He, who was born an innocent child, knew no sin. He came into the world to take our sin upon himself so that we might have abundant life now, and eternal life forever.
The gift of His life at Calvary is what offers us a personal God, but it is our “yes” in absolute surrender that gives us a personal relationship with Him. It is the only thing really makes God personal. He, who knew no sin, became sin in order that each person could be set free from sin's control in our lives. God laid on Jesus Christ all of our sins, and He took them to the cross for you and for me. You can't get much more personal than that! He absolutely surrendered himself for mankind. He gave his life and bore our sins so we might be healed and made whole. He surrendered his life for us. Such love calls for a response from you and me. We can't ignore such a sacrifice. We either accept it or reject it. If we accept it and surrender to Him, we discover the incredible depth of His love that gave all for us. If we reject it, we lose the greatest love ever offered.
What is your response? What is mine? Do we allow Him just a little of ourselves, and reserve our total commitment? We want to approach Him. We want to come boldly before Him in our time of need, but we don’t want to give our own absolute surrender and sacrifice. Perhaps we want to hold on to a gift or even a calling, but He asks us to lay everything down for His sake–just as He laid all down for our sake. Sometimes we must lose the gift or the calling or whatever is important to us to understand that those things are not what really matter. He is what really matters. He is what is important.
If we turn away from the gift of His life, we lose everything. If we say “no” we lose everything. But if we lay down all that we have and all that we are, and place Him above everything else, we discover a personal God beyond human imagination. No one has a greater love than that he gives his life for another. When we know in our hearts that this innocent child was born just to save us, Christmas becomes more real than ever before. None of us need ever be lonely again. This was the greatest and will always be the greatest love story every told.