Titus 2:11-14 Christmas Christians
In the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge receives a visit from three spirits, each representing the past, the present, and the future of Scrooge. Each visitor functions as a parable, and they each teach a lesson to Scrooge, which changes him from the mean, miserly, tight-wad, to the happy and generous man we see at the end of the story. Christmas changes the man. The change makes him Christ-like. We know that the story is not complete without the Christ who changes us. How do we become Christmas Christians like Scrooge?
We look to the Christmas past:
“For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people,” (Titus 2:11, HCSB)
In one sense, there is a Christmas past. Jesus came as a baby in a cattle trough. He lived a sinless life and He died a cruel death to pay for our sin debt. This payment of debt was the “salvation” which brings us eternal life. In our own personal lives, there was a time when the grace of God appeared with salvation. The baby in the manger reminds us of our past, and the change which Christ brings.
We look to the Christmas present:
“instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age,” (Titus 2:12, HCSB)
Today, we live in a world that has turned the sacred parts of Christmas secular. We have Christmas trees, Christmas parties, Christmas presents, and Christmas events, and many times they don’t reflect the Christ of Christmas. We live in a world of godlessness, in the sense that God is taken out of Christmas. The worldly lust of buying the gifts and getting the gifts, and even the good family traditions can overshadow the true meaning why we have Christmas. It is our job as Christians to be sensible, to the point others to Christ who is the right and Godly Way in the present.
“while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13, HCSB)
We live in the present, but at the same time we wait for the future. The wise men came with a blessed hope searching after the appearing of the star which led them to Christ who came the first time. As Christians today, we also wait for the appearing of Jesus Christ who will come a second to bring all of the people whom He saved home. We look to a future when Christ will make things right. He is already the “Mighty God” that God revealed to Isaiah. He is the great and mighty God whom we depend on now, but we look forward to the day when Christ will be the mighty God to everyone as He will come to rule the world as the rightful King and Prince of Peace.
The spirits who visited Scrooge had a positive result in his life. In the same way, the Christ of Christmas can make a change in our lives – a positive change which causes us to be “eager to do good works.”
“He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.” (Titus 2:14, HCSB)
This is what I call the Christmas Result. We take time tonight and tomorrow to celebrate Jesus Christ, because He changed us and made us a new people. We are His people who are able to do the good work He has called us to do. Let’s be Christmas Christians, not in the sense that we just attend church only at Christmas, but that we “be the church this Christmas”. We take time to remind ourselves of the Person who redeemed us. Then we take that reminder and let it help us to do the good works God has called us to do.