Christmas Is For Sinners

Many years ago my family and I had a wonderful time giving my grandfather a lump of coal for Christmas.  Yes, that is all he got.  No shiny present and no Christmas card.  A lump of coal in a cardboard box!  While he took it well and we all enjoyed the laugh, the idea of giving a lump of coal to someone for Christmas clearly shows that Christmas is not for them.

Have you ever thought about who Christmas is for? While the Santa Clause story teaches us that good ol’ Saint Nic comes for good boys and girls, the Gospel of Matthew speaks on the Christmas story saying, “And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) Our text says that a child was born and they called Him Jesus. The name of Jesus embraces His entire purpose. He is the one who is to be our Savior. He is the one who came to save sinners.

Fredrick Wisloff in his little book titled, “Hvil eder litt,” states the following,

“Had there been no sin on earth, there would have been no Christmas. Had there been no sinners, there would have been no need of a Savior. For this very reason the Christmas Gospel is a message for sinners. And only those who acknowledge their sins can understand the true meaning of Christmas.”

Wisloff goes on to say,

“The name ‘Jesus’ is the hope of the world; it is the radiant dawn over a generation living in the night of sin; it is salvation and victory for the sinner; it is release for him who is in captivity; it is hope, it is a future, it is eternity. Without Jesus the world is hopeless darkness. With Jesus something of heaven comes to earth.”

This Christmas as we jokingly ponder who will receive presents from Santa based on our status on the naughty and nice list, we can take comfort that God’s Christmas Gift of Jesus Christ is for people on the naughty list. In other words, the Christmas Gift (i.e., Jesus) came not to call the righteous but sinners (Matthew 9:13). Therefore, as we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, we can be assured that the Christmas Gospel is a message for us. God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. This Christmas God does not have a lump of coal for you, but the Christ child.  Your gift is Christ crucified for the forgiveness of your sins.  Receive Him.

Merry Christmas

About Pastor Matt Richard

Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church of Gwinner, ND. He was previously a Senior Pastor in Sidney, Montana, an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care and Youth Ministries in Williston, North Dakota, and an Associate Pastor of Children and Youth in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He received his undergraduate degree from Minot State University, ND and his M.Div. from Lutheran Brethren Seminary, MN. His doctor of ministry thesis, from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, was on exploring the journey of American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought. Pastor Richard is married to Serenity and they have two children. He enjoys fishing, pheasant hunting, watching movies, blogging, golfing, spending time with his family and a good book with a warm latte! To check out more articles by Pastor Matt you can visit his personal blog at:


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