- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

The following are excerpts of a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Maj. Wanda Browning at the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center in Northeast Washington.

Some say that money is the reason for the season. Stores compete for money; wives compete with husbands, children with friends, to get the most reflective gift.

Trees, gift-giving, Christmas cards, Santa Claus, Rudolph are all a part of the money being “the reason for the season.”

Others say it’s for seeing a child’s eyes light up on Christmas morning, or for the continuation of youthful fantasies that create special cherished memories of family togetherness. Those who don’t believe in the baby born in Bethlehem say that Christmas is just another example of Christian plagiarism and crusades.

What is “the reason for the season” to you? For the Christian, the rightful representation of “the reason for the season” is a rededication of thankfulness for the greatest gift of all — Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, Who was born to save His people from their sins.

This gift can’t be purchased at a store, ordered from a catalog or wrapped and given as a gift. In fact, it can’t even be bought with currency at all.

Conveying three distinctive proclamations reveals “the reason for the season.” … First: to expose the existence of Jesus. “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 NIV).

The purpose of the Christmas season is to expose the existence of Jesus Christ and to reveal how human lives can be significantly changed by believing “in” the Babe of Bethlehem.

In this baby lies the future of all human existence. Angels announced His birth; wise men brought gifts from afar, and shepherds left their flocks to worship Him. A baby born to a virgin was in itself the greatest event of all ages.

No demonstrations, events in history, or discoveries made can match that moment for its impact and importance for eternity.

God’s benevolence to humankind displayed itself in sending Jesus, who introduced harmony to the world and parted the sin between God and man, which restructured a peaceful association. Anyone can take benefit of this relationship if we “confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 NIV).

The reason for the season is … secondly: to give reverence to one sent from God.

“You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NIV).

Every person who accepts His name takes on the responsibility of telling that Jesus is the reason for the season. The unbeliever will miss the purpose and mission of Jesus’ birth if they do not know the great purpose for His life — to be our Savior.

The Scripture declares: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by whom we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV).

The third proclamation for the reason for the season is … to accept the miracle of God’s greatest gift.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

God has given to humanity an “indescribable gift” — no longer a baby, but a relational divine being that offers a distinguished fellowship with God — both at the present and without end. This gift of eternal life through believing in Jesus Christ exceeds all imaginative powers of gift giving. Accepting the miracle of the babe born in a stable is accepting the awesomeness of God’s love for us. The heart of God was expressed though Jesus’ life — “the real reason for the season.”

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