For those who missed my Christmas Eve message, here it is in brief: The Curse of the Bambino was a superstition evolving from the failure of the Boston Red Sox baseball team to win the World Series in the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004. The curse was said to have begun after the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth (The Bambino), to the New York Yankees in the off-season of 1919-1920. The curse was reversed in 2004, when the Red Sox came back from a 0-3 best-of-seven deficit to beat the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series and then went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2004 World Series. That was a thing of beauty!
Folks in Chicago are more familiar with the Curse of the Billy Goat which was supposedly placed on the Cubs in 1945 when the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern brought his pet goat with him to a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at Wrigley Field. The goat’s odor bothered the other fans so much that he and goat were asked to leave. The tavern owner was outraged and declared, “D’em Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” The Cubs have not won a National League pennant since 1945 and as of 2012 have not won a World Series in 104 years (so apparently the curse covered the 37 yrs before 1945).
Why all this talk about a curse at Christmas? Some of you may think I am going to talk about Christmas shopping. However, in Romans 5 Paul tells us that “Through the disobedience of one man sin entered the world and death through sin…so the obedience of one man brought justification and life for all.” Paul also says in Gal 4, “When the time was just right, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”
The Coming of Christ is seen in the Scripture as the way by which God dealt with the curse of sin and death originated by our forefather, Adam. Many disagree with the doctrine of original sin, but it is the only theological truth that can be experimentally proven. How else do explain the horrors of concentration camps and the random killing of children in an elementary school? Explain the pain of divorce or the damage of abuse; explain addictions and the inability to curb our self-destructive behaviors apart from sin.
This is why the message of Christmas is singularly such good news. “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people. For today is born in the City and you of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2). Jesus fulfilled the promise of God spoken to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed, for HE will crush your head and you will bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). Jesus was bruised for our iniquity and wounded for our sin, but He crushed the head of Satan and reversed the curse for all who claim him as Lord and Savior.
Wait, there is more— He is Coming again and will reign in power and glory in a kingdom of perfect righteousness and peace. The third verse (which we tend to skip over) of Joy to the World speaks to this: “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the CURSE is found, far as the CURSE is found.”
The curse of the Bambino- 86 yrs. The curse of the Billy Goat- 104 yrs and counting. The curse of sin and death- reversed! First, in the lives of those who trust in Christ for the forgiveness if sins; second, in the New Heaven and Earth inaugurated at His Second Coming. Such is our hope…MERRY CHRISTMAS!