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Mr. & Mrs. Sullivan…as of January 7!

by Jeff Sullivan
HCA Guidance Counselor &
HCA Class of 2011 Alumnus

So many different things come to mind when we think of Christmas. From the time Thanksgiving hits, until December 25th, our lives become filled with everything the holiday brings. Over the years, society has thrown at us many different traditions that we hold dear. From gifts to parties, we basically fill every moment of the month of December with shopping and social gatherings. Some of us might head right into holiday-coordination mode, trying to figure out how we are going to fit 30 family members into our two-bedroom house, while putting together a plan as to how we are going to feed all of them, too.

Our minds, like our schedules, go in different directions when this season comes along. For some of us, when we think of Christmas, our mind goes straight to our bank accounts: Do I have enough money to get my loved ones the gifts they want? Oh, and I have to figure out what those gifts should be. While we’re at it, I hope they get me things that I will like.

The bottom line is that this time of year can be very busy—and if we are not careful, we can allow the busyness to take our minds off of what the holiday is supposed to be.

If I were to ask you what Christmas is about, you could probably give me the answer I would want to hear—the birth of Jesus. You would be right in saying that, but if we try to look at Christmas a little deeper, we might be able to see that Christmas is more than just celebrating the birth of Jesus. It is what His birth allowed for us.

Christmas is LOVE, GRACE, and HOPE in action!

To say that Christmas is love, we look at Philippians 2:5-8. Christ humbled Himself and became human for us. If that is not a picture of a Savior who loves us, then I don’t know what is. Jesus loved us so much that He left His place at the right hand of the Father to come down to this sin-infested, disease-ridden world for a people who time and time again have denied Him. Christmas is love, so much so, that Jesus gave us something we did not deserve—His perfect life.

That is what it means to say that Christmas is grace.

Romans 5:8 tells us that even though we are sinful people, Christ died for us. When we were born, we were on a path for death. This is due to the fact that when we’re born, we were born with a sin nature because of the sin committed all the way back in the Garden with Adam and Eve. This sin separates us from a holy God, and therefore when we die we cannot go to heaven because a perfect God cannot be around something imperfect. But Christ loved us so much that He graced us with His perfect life that could take our place in the sight of God. His perfect life took on our sins and paid for them through death on the cross of Calvary. He did this so that we could have a hope, a hope of an eternal future.

This is what is meant when we say Christmas is hope.

John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that He gave us Jesus so that we could have eternal life. That is the true Christmas story. Christ’s birth gave a way for His death, which ultimately gave us life. This is what we need to focus on this Christmas.

Christmas is LOVE, GRACE, and HOPE in action—acted out to us through Jesus! Now we can put all these into action. This holiday season we need to be bold and find the areas in our life in which we can speak to other people that love, grace, and hope that has been shown to us.

Let’s truly celebrate Christmas this Christmas!

Mr. Jeff Sullivan, HCA Guidance Counselor and our blogger of the week, is passionate about sharing the love of Christ—whether it be while counseling students, out running with his cross country team, in his Bible class, around campus, or in the EDGE student ministry! Jeff grew up in South Florida and is a 2011 HCA alumnus. He loved Highlands, and returned here after earning his undergraduate degree at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. As you can see, he’s one of our own here at Highlands, and is pouring his heart into our students and their families! The content of this blog originated in Jeff’s Sunday morning sermon earlier this month at Grace. Jeff and his fiance, Tori, will be getting married in just a few weeks, and we pray they’ll have a lifetime of love and joy as they serve Christ together!

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