My two little girls are excited about Christmas, very excited. Christmas is truly overwhelming for them. Grandma is coming into town, along with uncles and aunts. There are presents under the tree just waiting to be opened. Mom seems to be an endless source of baked goods. And Dad even cut down a real Christmas tree this year.

In the midst of all of this Christmas glee, each night I sit down with our daughters and we read a Bible story and memorize a passage of Scripture. Recently we have been enjoying the poetic prose of Sally Lloyd-Jones in Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing and Marty Machowski’s The Gospel Story Bible.

But at the end of the night as the girls are tucked into bed, there is one question that we return to again and again: Why did Christ come into the world? Contrary to what you might think, the answer to this question does not have a cheerful beginning. In the middle of a season of good cheer, there is bad news, very bad news: We are sinners and we are in desperate need of a Savior (Eph 2:1-3).

Sin does not bring a smile to the face. My girls sit there in silence. Occasionally my oldest even responds, “Dad, we sin and we do bad things.” Certainly to the world this sure puts a damper on the Christmas spirit. But as we sit there, looking at the picture in the story Bible, of Jesus wrapped tightly, laying in a manger, we know that just pages ahead this babe will be grown and he will be crucified on a cross for our sin.

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