The birth of Jesus was the beginning of the end  for religion. The story starts with a helpless infant born in humble circumstances to a pair of nobodies. And it ended with a spirit/man ascending to heaven, His final words echoing throughout all of Creation "... you will receive power..." 

What sort of power was given to us, based on a man's birth, death, resurrection, and final ascent into Heaven?

  • The power to be perfect and innocent in God's eyes, regardless of what we do or don't do 
  • The power to be free from the condemnation of the rules that define good and evil.
  • The power to be accepted, no matter how far we fall.  

Throughout the centuries, many have heard this message of freedom and embraced it.

And yet, others somehow heard something more like this:  

I have come to bring a new religion. Be perfect, and work hard, and this new religion will get you closer and closer to God. It’s like the old religion, just a new one.” 

Or 

Work hard at this new religion I have created, and you will have prosperity, power, and prestige.”

 Or

 “Hate those that won’t listen to my message.  It doesn’t matter that you were once just like them. Try to always have an us vs. them mentality. Do lots of judging. Especially on social media, with Christian memes.”

But those who heard the true message of grace clearly, embraced it and were changed. They began living their lives confident that God loved them, no matter what. They lived with His spirit inside them, which caused them to love His laws with all their heart. But they did not count their obedience to the laws of good and bad as their worth. They frequently found themselves doing wrong, in spite of their love for doing right. They acknowledged in their heart that they were sinners, the worst of sinners in many respects. They embraced the name Christian, only in that it pointed to their one hope of perfect goodness- Christ.

Christianity is not a new religion. It is God’s statement on religion- “It is finished.”

Those who believed counted His work on the cross as everything, and were at peace. Sometimes they found themselves slipping back into their religious ways. It is much more natural to earn love rather than to simply receive love.

But always, they came back to grace. They shared this good news of rest and love with others who were tired and heavy with religious or personal rules. And those who believed struggled, and suffered, and rode the waves of this human life. Returning again and again to the truth of a message so simple a child could understand it, but one so complex the most intelligent of religious and political leaders scoffed at it-

“Jesus loves me, this I know.”

 Christmas was the starting point of God’s unconditional love towards His created ones.

It was the beginning of the end of the religious system.

Christmas was the humble birth of the greatest upset of all time.

Merry Grace-mas.

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