For many people, it is difficult to imagine Christmas without a whirlwind of giving and receiving presents. Yet millions who are delighted to accept gifts, large or small, refuse to accept the greatest gift ever offered – and one that can be theirs at any time of the year. Here it is: ‘The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23).
In December 2005, BBC Radio 4’s programme Sunday ran a ‘Reduced Nativity Competition’ in which listeners were invited to see who could best tell the Christmas story in thirty seconds. But the Bible answers the question in less than three seconds: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’. To grasp the true meaning of Christmas we need to see beyond the tinsel and the trimmings, the parties and the presents, the food and the fun. We need to fix our minds on the fact that Jesus did not come into the world as a diplomat, a politician, an economist, a psychologist or a scientist, but as a Saviour.