The true message of Christmas is controversial in our society today.
Fashionable political correctness says no religion can claim to be true
for everybody, especially not Christianity. But Christmas says the
universal truth about God's love for wayward mankind is to be found
exclusively in the man born over 2000 years ago in the Bethlehem
cattle-shed, Jesus Christ.
So if we want to know the truth about the one true God, we've got to go
The Apostle John made that clear in the prologue to his Gospel (John
1v1-18), often read at Christmas carol services. John opens his account
of Jesus' life, teaching, miracles, death and resurrection with the
ringing declaration that: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God' (v1 - NIV). Yes, intriguingly, the
Word is indeed a divine Person, for John affirms that: 'He was with God
in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing
was made that has been made' (v2-3). This divine Word became human, John
explains (v14), and the man in whom he became human was Jesus Christ (v17).
John concludes his prologue with this mind-blowing claim: 'No one has
ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side,
has made him known' (v18). The Father is the awesome creator and ruler
of all created things; God the One and Only refers to Jesus Christ, the
man who, John relates in the rest of his Gospel, lived in Roman-occupied
Palestine, went to parties, wept at the tomb of a friend, suffered and
died unjustly at the hands of human authorities, and rose again bodily
from the dead. John himself was one of those who saw Jesus alive.
John is calling Jesus 'God the One and Only', an astonishing thing to
say about a man. John is saying that Jesus is divine and eternal like
God the Father. He is a distinct Person from the Father but is equal
with him. Following his death and resurrection Jesus is now 'at the
Father's side', John proclaims, meaning he is now ruling the universe in
heaven together with God the Father.
This Jesus, John affirms, is the divine Person who has exclusively made
the true God known. That means every one of us living on God's earth
needs to come to Jesus and to him only - to put our faith in him and in
him only - if we are to receive the forgiving love of God, which we
desperately need because of our sins.
That's the message of Christmas and no one can fairly say it's bland or
boring. Why not read John's Gospel for yourself and make up your own
mind about the Christian conviction that Jesus is the only way to God?
A happy and meaningful Christmas to you and your loved ones.