Even More than Heaven

But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)


"You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is comin' to town!" As Christmas approaches, parents urge their kids, "be good...or else!" It's tradition to let kids know that if they're not good Santa won't be dropping off any gifts for them. "He's making a list, he's checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town!"


Christmas is the story of Jesus coming to town, and, funny enough, we kinda have the same thoughts. God is coming to town and we better shape up because He's probably already mad at us. We have this innate feeling that we're guilty and God is upset. And we're right!


We are guilty. We've all done something. At some point we all fall short of the ethic of love. And God IS upset. He hates some of the things human beings do to each other, and even themselves. And rightly so. We find ourselves hating those same things. But that's what makes Christmas so beautiful.


We ARE on the naughty list. God is upset, and yet, He comes. Not with a sword, but with gifts. Salvation. Grace. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Christmas is the story of the God who comes with a bag full of gifts for the kids on the naughty list. Christmas is the story that sets us straight. We may be naughty and He may be mad but He's far more madly in love.


God gives up a Son. Jesus gives up heaven. For us.


And He didn't just come. He gave up even more than heaven. We tend to think God is coming for us with a whip, but Christmas says He came to take the whip. "He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him...and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." God answered His (righteous) anger with His love! Christmas is that story!


Christmas is a reminder that God loves you far more than you think. That He's far more interested in loving you than punishing you! That He came to be with you and would give up everything to make that happen.


Christmas isn't beautiful because God isn't angry. Christmas is beautiful because even His anger won't keep you from His love.