All I Want For Christmas Is... Your Sin

In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Christmas is a very nostalgic time of the year. This nostalgia is typically a feeling that we get.  It is the feeling that one gets when thinking of grandmother’s cooking, or the feeling of a first love, or the crackle of a baseball game on an old radio in the summer.  Nostalgia has a connection to the past but does so not in a negative way but a positive way.  And with this nostalgia comes feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace.

And so, for Christmas, we get the nostalgic feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace through the Christmas music we listen to, the decorations we put up, the Holiday movies we watch, the festive clothes we wear, and the seasonal food that we eat. 

Now, I do not have to try and convince you that we tend to really like these nostalgic feelings.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t repeat many of our traditions every year. You see, these nostalgic feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace give us a break from the grind of everyday life.  They connect us together.  They remind us of previous memories and provide a sense of order in our universe.   

While these nostalgic feelings are indeed a good thing – something that can bless families - we must be careful that we do not let these feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace grow too big and overtake the fundamental meaning of Christmas. 

You see, we can obviously have these feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace without Jesus, for there are plenty of nostalgic stories that one can enjoy during the holiday season.  The Grinch, Santa Clause, and Hallmark Movies can sustain us all the way through December.  But this is not what we are talking about here.  Instead, what we are talking about is letting these nostalgic feelings misconstrue the main purpose of the babe lying in the manger. 

For example, the birth of Jesus long ago was no ordinary birth.  It was a peculiar birth, unlike any other birth.  A newborn child, swaddled in clothes and lying in a long open box used to feed horses and cattle, is most peculiar indeed.  This babe is basically a homeless baby – defenseless on a cool evening night in a tiny town of Bethlehem. 

Now, here is where we need to be cautious. These nostalgic feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace should be fully activated right now.  And right alongside all of these feelings, we also have a feeling of sympathy too.  Our hearts may be tugging at us right about now with sympathy and a sense of pity for the babe in the manger.  Thinking about the babe in the manger with all these emotions, we may be saying in our hearts,

“Lord Jesus, You are probably freezing.  It is so hard and uncomfortable where you sleep.  It is very dirty here too.  How can I make you calmer?  What can I do to make it easier for you?  

Now, if the Christ Child could speak back to you and me, I think we would hear Him respond to us with something like this,

“I don’t want anything.  Just wait. My life is not calm nor will it be. Even more difficult times are before me. The road gets darker as I get older and move towards the cross of Mt. Calvary.  Do you see the shadows of the cross off in the distance?  Suffering surely awaits me.” 

Now, this kind of response certainly does not fit with our nostalgic feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace. It is actually a bit unsettling for us to hear right now.  So, our hearts may tug at us even more, causing us to reach into our wallets and purses, saying, 

“Let me at least give you some money Jesus, so that you can spend several nights in the local inn.  Money has a way of solving many of my problems.  I have to give You something! Here, take some money, it is the least that I could do for you.  Receive from my generosity Jesus.”   

If the Christ Child could speak, I think we would hear Him say,

“The heavens and the earth are Mine.  I do not need your money or your generosity.  Give it to the poor, and then I will receive it as if it was given to Me.”

Again, this does not help.  The Christ-Child is starting to wreck our nostalgic feelings.  And so, we respond again,

 "Dear Christ Child, I will gladly do that, but I still want to give something to You!  My heart is full of generosity, calmness, peace.  I feel sympathetic towards you.  I want to give you something!  I must create peace for you; I must ease this longing for sympathy in my heart!  Let me give you peace.”

After a brief pause, if the Christ Child could speak, we would hear Him say,

          “Dear friend, since you are 
desiring peace, I will tell you what you can give to Me 

With excitement in our hearts, we respond,

“What can we give you?” 

If the Christ Child could speak, we would hear Him respond,


“Give Me your sins . . . Give Me your bad conscience  . . . Give me your guilt . . . Give me your shame . . .  Give it all to me.” 

Did you hear that?  Obviously, we did not expect that kind of response.  So, we must quickly respond,

 “What on earth do you want to do with my sin, my bad conscience, my guilt, and my shame?  Why do you want these things Jesus?” 

 The Christ will answer,

 “I will take your sin, your guilt, and your bad conscience upon My shoulders and give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.  Your sin, guilt, and shame will be My glory.  I will bear your sins; I will take them away.  I will take away what is yours and make it Mine.  I do not want your money, your efforts, your sympathy, your achievements, your generosity, your calmness, and your efforts for peace, but I want your sin.  I want your failures.  I want your filth.  Give me all of this, so that I may take it to Mt. Calvary so that you might be free and have eternal life!”

Baptized Saints, there is a nostalgic feeling tied to Christmas.  No doubt about it.  There are nostalgic feelings of generosity, calmness, and peace.  But as we have just heard this evening, these nostalgic feelings are not something that the Christ child wants or needs. Sure, we can feel good about the memories of “Family Christmas-es” long ago – we can feel warm and fuzzy when hearing a contemporary Christmas song on the radio.  But these kind of nostalgic feelings are temporary and not long-lasting – as good as they may be. 

And so, what we have heard tonight is that the babe in the manger is the Generous One.  He is the Calm One.  He is the One that grants you and me peace.  He is the One we bow to, not so that we may express our generosity, calmness, or peace, but that He may do all these things for you and me.  

Our hearts and minds bow before the Christ Child, knowing that we cannot give Him anything that would sufficiently thank Him for what He has done.  We bow before the Christ Child, knowing that through His generous love and death and His calm plan of salvation, that He has accomplished everlasting peace.

Dear Baptized Saints, let this Word of Christ dwell in your minds richly this evening.  May the Christmas Gospel Message not only be a yearly nostalgic memory that you cherish but a powerful Word that grants you faith, hope, trust, and assurance this evening.  

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Note: The idea of the dialogue between the hearer and the Christ Child comes from a great church father named, Heironymus. 

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