Celebrating Christmas in Peru is a different experience not only because of being in a different culture and the different customs they have (I have actually become quite fond of some of them), but basic things like the season doesn't match up with what I have grown up with. I'm sure we have shared with you in the past, but one of the most difficult things to get over is the weather. Christmastime for most of us means cold, snowy, rainy wintertime weather that makes you want to be inside around the fire place with some hot chocolate and your family. Here, in the southern hemisphere, we are wearing shorts, flip flops and have plenty of sun. It's really just the beginning of the summer season.
Last week at soccer club, we had a wonderful opportunity to plainly share the Gospel and who Jesus is with some of the youth.
After the kids had been playing for a while we took a break and as they rested I brought up the obvious subject of Christmas. Most knew it was about celebrating the birth of Christ.
"Good," I said.
Then I added, "But why did he have to come?"
A smaller but still good amount of them stated, "To save us from our sins."
"Awesome," I thought.
But if he had to come to forgive us of our sins, then that means that we are sinners. That opened the door to talk about our own personal sin and how we have sinned against God. I shared that there was not one kid on that bench who was not a sinner and that we ALL need forgiveness from our sins. Because of what Jesus did, we can have this forgiveness. This is really what the celebration is about! Yes, Jesus was born! You could say that was the beginning of the end of sin.
I want to encourage you today as I have been reading in 1 Peter a lot, to live the life of holiness that this world hates with a passion. We are to be separate; set a part; holy. "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1:15-16). Jesus came so that we could ultimately be holy and stand before our Father with out blemish, without shame, without sin. That is something to really celebrate!
Thank you Jesus!
May His grace and peace be yours in abundance!