Through the month of December, I’ve been preaching a series called Let It Snow. And God has shown up in a huge way throughout this series. And we’re going to close out the series tonight at our Christmas Eve service.
The entire series comes from one verse in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
In Isaiah 1, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)
This is what God wants to do for us. He wants to make it snow. The reason He came to our world in the form of a baby is so He could grow up and die on a cross. And then three days later, He rose from the grave. His death and resurrection make our sins as white as snow.
And it’s a free give gift. We can’t earn it. We’ll never deserve it. It’s a gift that is freely given.
Years ago, there was a very wealthy man. He and his son shared a passion for art collecting. The man and his son traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others covered the walls of the family estate.
The man watched with great satisfaction as his son grew into an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with other collectors all over the world.
As winter approached, the two men found themselves in a nation at war…and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action.
The man anxiously awaited more news, fearing that he would never see his son again. And a few days later, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holiday with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season—a season that he and his son looked forward to every year—was gone.
On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.
He introduced himself to the man by saying, “Sir, I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few minutes? I have something for you.”
As the two began to talk, the soldier talked about how the man’s son had told everyone in his unit about their art collection. The soldier said, “I’m somewhat of an artist myself, and I want to give you this.”
As the old man unwrapped the package, he found a portrait of his son. No experienced art collector would ever consider it to be a work of genius, but it did feature the young man’s face in striking detail. The man was overcome with emotion and promised the soldier that he would hang it above the fireplace.
A few hours later, after the soldier had left, the old man did exactly what he promised to do. He hung the painting above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of masterpieces in the process.
And then the man sat down and spent Christmas Day gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, his legacy would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before his own life was taken.
As the stories of his son’s courage continued to reach him, pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any of the pieces that museums around the world were clamoring for. He told his neighbors that it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the man became ill and passed away. And the art world was filled with anticipation. With the man’s passing, his art collection would be sold at auction. According to the old man’s will, all of the art would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he received his greatest gift.
The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled today.
The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent.
“Who will open for $100?” asked the auctioneer.
No one’s hand went up. Everyone sat in silence. Finally, someone yelled, “Who cares about this painting? It’s just a picture of the man’s son. Forget about it and move on.”
“No, we have to sell this one first,” said the auctioneer. “Now, who will take the son?”
Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “Will you take $10 for it? That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I would like to have it.”
The auctioneer called out, “$10, going once. Going twice. Sold!”
The gavel slammed down and cheers filled the room. Everyone was ready to get to the treasures from the old man’s art collection. But the auctioneer motioned for quiet. As the room grew silent, the auctioneer announced that the auction was over.
Someone yelled out, “What do you mean it’s over? There is millions of dollars worth of art to be sold!”
The auctioneer replied, “The auction is over. It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son gets it all.”
And that’s the simple message of Christmas. It’s the simple message of Christianity. We were lost in a mess of our own making. We could never overcome our own sinfulness. We could never be good enough. We could never save ourselves. We needed a Savior…and God provided.
It’s why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It’s why He died on the cross of Calvary. To pay the price for our sin. And now, the invitation is simply for us to come to Him.
One last time from Isaiah 1. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)
God’s invitation is for us to come to Him. To let the blood of Christ wash our sins as white as snow. To walk in the freedom of His grace. To live with hope and joy and peace. All of the treasures of the Father are available when we take the Son.
We can’t do it on our own, and that’s why God made a way for us. Whoever takes the Son gets it all.