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“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

To echo the apostle Paul, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).

That’s what Christmas is truly all about, and Dec. 25 is as good a day as any to set aside for a special celebration of it: “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). In other words, the “peace on earth, good will toward men” proclaimed by the angels is not merely about peace between nations and goodwill among men. It’s about peace with God and grace from him to us in spite of our sin.

Even the name Jesus means “Savior” — “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In other words, the very heart of the true meaning of Christmas is a promise of salvation — full and free redemption from the guilt and penalty of sin “for all who believe” (Romans 3:22). That is the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Miss it, and you will have missed the true meaning of Christmas entirely. Lay hold of it, and you will not only gain eternal life — you can also enjoy the true “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

John F. MacArthur is president of The Master’s College and Seminary, an author, and host of the internationally-syndicated radio show “Grace to You.”