It is not merely that that we have made mistakes, or even that we have lived morally deficient lives, though we have done both. Nor is just that we have done things that have hurt other people, though we have done those things, too. It is especially that we have rebelled against our benevolent Creator. We have defied the One who made us, and who is in charge of this world. We have turned our backs on Him, and have sought to go our own way. We have become traitors against God. We have lived as if He is of no account, as though He is unworthy of our time, attention, or devotion.
Jesus is our Savior, and that means that He rescues us from sin and its consequences. He came into the world to live in perfect obedience, which is far beyond the life that any of us have actually lived. The Father accounts the righteousness of Jesus’ perfect life to everyone who acknowledges his or her need, and to everyone who believes that Jesus has met that need. Jesus also died the death that our sins deserve, in our place. We must admit that we need His righteousness, and the forgiveness that He has secured by His death. We need them every day, every single moment.
We must admit these things because they are true, and also because Jesus alone is able to meet our most pressing need. Our most pressing need directs us to our greatest need. We need the peace with the Triune God that we have forfeited by our sin. God provides the breath we breathe, the food we eat, and the human relationships we enjoy. Indeed, he provides every good gift that we enjoy. But most of all, our lives can only become whole and complete if we are reconciled to Him. God created us to worship and enjoy Him. As long as we remain alienated from God, life simply will never be the way it is supposed to be.
Why did God choose to reveal the birth of the most glorious King in all of human history to lowly shepherds? The angel did not appear in Caesar’s palace in Rome to make his momentous announcement. He didn’t announce it at the Areopagus in Athens. He didn’t proclaim it in India, or to the Han dynasty in China. The Lord simply did not choose to deliver the announcement to the political, intellectual, cultural, or economic centers of power. Instead He chose those of low estate, those who were prepared to acknowledge the value of the gift, and to praise the glory of God. As we humble ourselves to acknowledge the value of the gift of Jesus Christ, we come to experience that He is our joy.