Today Show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kolb fought back tears last week when they announced their colleague, Matt Lauer had been fired by NBC following sexual harassment charges. Lauer, one of the most beloved and trusted journalists on television for the past 20 years, joined a long list of celebrities, politicians and CEOs brought down by sexual misconduct charges. Garrison Keillor joined him on that list later the same day when Minnesota Public Radio terminated his contract.
We are left reeling. Who can we trust?
The seemingly endless stream of trusted celebrities who have confessed sorrow and shame over their sexual misconduct reminds us that sin is pervasive throughout the human race. When we add to these charges daily news reports of corruption, lying, deceit, greed, hatred, prejudice, bigotry, sex trafficking, terrorism, violence, theft and an out-of-control opioid epidemic, we are confronted with the undeniable fact that we live in an “evil and adulterous generation,” the words Jesus used to describe the world in which he was born.
I suppose that some past generations were better than our own, and others worse. I hope and pray that the generations to come will be better. But we cannot fool ourselves any longer. We are a sinful people.
We have tried to ignore the fact. We have tried to convince ourselves that we are good. That crime, corruption and sexual misconduct are aberrations, something that can be cured with medication and counseling. But the Bible has always recognized the truth of our human condition.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
All of this can lead us to a better understanding of the season we celebrate. It was because of our sinful condition that God sent his son into the world. Only when we know our exceeding sinfulness can we comprehend the mystery of Christmas.
When the angels announced his birth they said, “Today in the city of David there has been born to you a savior, who is Christ the Lord.” When John introduced him to his followers, he said, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The apostle Paul confessed, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy 1:15).
For this reason God sent his son into the world, so that “He who knew no sin might become sin for us.” This Christmas, confronted with our sins, perhaps we can hear the angel’s announcement in a more profound way, “She shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).