For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
The grace of God has appeared. That is the reality of the Christmas message that we begin celebrating today. In Jesus, the grace of God fell on a rebel planet. God chose to give His Son to offer pardon for the sinful state of humanity. This is the best of all gifts for all people.
This grace appeared in Jesus and it brought salvation. Of all the gifts a person can receive, this is the greatest of gifts. Just as it is the costliest gift ever given, it is the greatest gift ever received. And this salvation is not just a pie-in-the-sky vaguery. It affects me in the real world.
This passage shows that salvation in Christ teaches the believer how to live. It trains us for a new kingdom. We renounce our rebellion, turn from the forces of selfish sin, and join the King's followers in a new allegiance. We are trained then to renounce what was once our basic training in rebellion: ungodliness and worldly passion. And we live under the King with new self-control, upright thinking and godly living AMONG the very rebels we once conspired with against the King.
This is what the Nativity brought to me. And this is the perspective on Christmas that I will carry with me this evening in worship, and tomorrow in celebration.