“And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
It is a gift that burst forth 2000 years ago, and as Cousin Eddie famously said in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, “It is the gift that keeps on giving.” However, the question that we must ask ourselves is, how does one receive this gift?
For many, this question is never asked or answered. Many people will attend Mass and/or Church services and the pomp and circumstances will be at its highest. Songs will be sung, candles will be lit, communion will be taken, but the silence of how to receive the gift will be deafening.
This reality is a sorrowful one. For the gift of Christ is truly good news of great joy; however, if you never receive the gift, this good news is not for you, nor is the great joy something you will ever experience. It is like a gift that is lost in the mail, never to reach its final destination.
So what is the means by which we receive the Grace of God in Christ? As always, to find this answer we turn to the Word of God. What does it say?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
The Bible clearly and explicitly tells us that we receive the gift of God’s Grace through faith. This of course is not the only place we see this teaching. The Bible is replete with this truth: John 3:16, Romans 3:22-30, Romans 4:3-16, Romans 5:1-9, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:5-24, Philippians 3:9, and 1 Timothy 1:16.
God does not want us to miss this crucial point, for the reality is that if we attempt to grab hold of the gift of Christ in any other way other than faith alone; we will not receive the gift of Christ. Listen to what God tells us in Galatians 3:10.
“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them."
If you think Jesus needs your help in saving you, then you are still under the curse. Salvation is of the Lord, not of the Lord plus your works. If Grace is dependent upon you doing your part, than grace is no longer grace, but a wage. We must believe (faith) in what the Bible says about the sacrifice of Christ.
“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” – Hebrews 10:12
Having faith means believing Hebrews 10:12; believing that Jesus paid for all sins, for all time. There is nothing left for us to do, but to say thank you. The work is over. Jesus has sat down because as he said on the cross, “It is finished.” This is what makes the gift of God in Christ good news of great joy. Faith alone. Grace alone. Christ alone. Merry Christmas!