Have you ever been on the wrong side of when a manufacturer offers a new and improved feature on something that seemed to work fine already. I recently experienced this when Microsoft decided to “improve” their online version of Outlook. Microsoft has been slowly transitioning all their email accounts to this “new and improved version.” Upgrades are generally an improvement offering new features do make it easier to use. However, at times these improvements don’t outweigh the troubles they bring. If it’s not broken, why fix it?
Microsoft’s upgrade caused all of my group accounts to get messed up. Since the online version of Outlook does not allow you to print off a list of the members of your email group, I did not have a hard copy of all the names in the accounts. This made it difficult (translate impossible) to recreate what I had lost. To make matters worse, the addresses that remained no longer showed a name only an email address! Now who is firstname.lastname@example.org? If that was not bad enough, it duplicated names and created dozens of addresses with a “Q” followed by numbers. Did these replace some of my email address or were they randomly generated? I still do not know.
To cap it off, there is no support to help you navigate the troubles you didn’t ask for. I spent most of a day just trying to just sort out my church group account. Maybe you can think of times in your life where the attempts to make something better only made it horrible! When you think about it, the need for Christmas comes from Adam’s attempt to improve on God’s design. You know the story, on the sixth day after God created man He looked over creation and declared it to be very good. However, Adam believed in Satan’s lies and sought to bring his own improvements to creation.
It began when the serpent told Eve that God was not looking out for their well being when he forbade them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In fact, Satan suggests that God was preventing them from reaching their full potential. As a result, Eve not only ate from the forbidden fruit but so did Adam. This simple self-improvement triggered the events that brought the reason for Christmas.
In Romans 5 Paul writes of the problem and the solutions saying, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” (17) We inherit death from Adam because of his sin. We receive life from Christ who was born to be our Savior. “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.” (18-19)
To understand the gift of life that is wrapped for us in the manger we must understand the biblical meaning of the fall. It is because we are born under the condemnation of sin and death that makes the message of Christmas so glorious. As Paul declared earlier, “But God shows and clearly proves His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
In spite of our un-deservedness, Christmas tells us that God sent his son to take the form of a man in order to die a criminal’s death so that we could have life. That is the Good News of Christmas! It is the fulfillment of John 3:16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
What Adam thought was to be an improvement brought condemnation upon the human race. However, God in his great love and mercy and grace extended life to us through the child in the manger. He even took it a step further, for unlike Microsoft, there is a support line that says, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Jesus is the Reason for the Season because he came to undo the death that Adam brought into the world.