At Christmastime we read and hear poems, stories, and songs about reindeer. There are those eight tiny reindeer, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, and the one that ran over Grandma.
Once, Harold Kurtz, a missionary in the Presbyterian Church USA, spoke at our church. He told of going to Siberia, which is in the northern part of Russia. He visited a reindeer-herding people called the Nenets. There are about 30,000 in this people-group. Harold wondered how he could let those people know of the love of God and what Jesus Christ had done for them.
One day, he saw one of the men sacrifice a reindeer to their god. He found out that this was done on a regular basis. The missionary then thought of the following Scripture:
Hebrews 10:1-4,12 – Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach. Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, "he sat down at the right hand of God." (NRSV)
Harold told the people about Jesus Christ and how He gave His life — Jesus Christ was their reindeer. All the sacrifices that they had made were useless. There was only one sacrifice for sin, and that was made by Jesus Christ. Since Harold met with them, many of the Nenets have been turning to the Lord.
We also must remember that the blood of eight tiny reindeer or millions of animals will not pay our sin debt for us. Only Jesus Christ giving His life will do so if we turn to Him. Praise God, we don't have to do anything to appease God or to get Him to love us. God showed His love by sending His Son to live a human life, then to die on the cross: one sacrifice for sin.
At Christmastime, it is nice to remember the manger, but we have to leave there and remember that Jesus came to be our sacrifice. Then, we need to remember that He didn't just die but rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of God.
Prayer: Lord God, we thank You for sending Your Son as a Baby in a manger. But we thank You and praise You more for sending Him to be our sacrifice. In the name of Jesus Christ, Who lived and died for us, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "O Come All Ye Faithful" (Lyrics)