Big idea: In Christ, we are reconciled.
Webster defines reconcile as "to restore to friendship or harmony." It is the kind of positive thing which can only take place after something negative. Our relationship with God was shattered in the fall of man by our choice of sin and that relationship could never be restored by us. We needed to be reconciled. But who could serve as a mediator? Who could absolve our guilt? We needed someone to go between us and God, to bridge the gap between the holy and the sinful. Ephesians tells us that Jesus came to break down the barriers between people, as a new Adam creating a new human race. We are no longer Jew or Gentile (or anything else) if we are in Christ: we are simply His. We are part of his family and fellow citizens of His Kingdom.
When Jesus died on the cross, He killed the hostility of sin. Once He reconciled us to each other through His cross, fulfilling the Law and taking the penalty for sin, He rose again triumphant, to reconcile His people to God. This reconciliation is not just a passive tolerance. We are not just around each other but are being built into a holy Temple, as interconnected as bricks in a wall. Our relationship with God is not just the absence of conflict - it is the active access to the Father to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Here is real reconciliation, the restoration of a ruined relationship.
Probably the greatest Christmas hymn is "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Wesley wrote: "Peace on earth and mercy mild/God and sinners reconciled!/Hark the herald angels sing/Glory to the newborn King." In Christ, and in Christ alone, we have reconciliation with God. We have a relationship restored and divisions dissolved. We have forgiveness, fellowship, and the privilege to worship. It is already done, we need only to accept it by faith.
Discussion idea: What areas in our society need reconciliation? Is it possible apart from Christ?
Prayer focus: Lord, help us to recognize the reconciliation you have already accomplished by the cross and help us to live worthy of it.