"He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor punished us according to our iniquities."
There is another side of the Christmas story that we don't seem to touch on too much. In some ways we have glorified the characters surrounding Jesus' birth and made them out to be sinless saints that God chose to be part of His plan based on their merit. That is the farthest thing from the truth.
Do we really think that Mary had not ever lied or shown any type of rebellion to her parents? She has been brought to the level of God by many, but we know based on Scripture that she was born with a nature of sin just like anyone else. Joseph, the hard-working carpenter, surely had some times of moral failure in his life. The shepherds, a rugged group of guys that faced incredible obstacles on their job, were not a cast of church choir boys. It would be interesting to know each of their stories. The wise men with all of their wealth and knowledge could have easily been an arrogant sort that thought too much of themselves. The point is very simple. There is only one perfect person in the story of Christmas and that is Jesus Christ.
God in His mercy and grace chose to use the others for His glory. He did not use them based on their merit and goodness, but He in His love gave grace and help in time of need. Thankfully, He does the same for us today. When we come to Him by faith, He gives us His free gift of salvation. Were He to reward us based on our sin and iniquity, we would each face eternal punishment separated from Him. There is not one man or woman that can claim to be any thing but a sinner with a heart that desires sin above God. However, God proved His love for us by sending His Son to be the substitutionary payment for our sin on the cross of Calvary. We can stand with Mary and Joseph and profess that we are also unworthy to have the Son of God live in our midst. It is often said how amazing it is that the God of glory and majesty would choose to be born in a stable surrounded by simple peasants. That is not the most amazing part of it all to me. I believe it is more astounding that a holy God would chose to live within my sin-sick soul and raise me up to heavenly places. Praise God for His birth, and praise Him that we can by His grace be born again!
May you praise Him for that new birth today!