Hark, the herald angels sing!
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
When I was in college, I once borrowed something of my friend's without asking her permission. She was understandably upset, and I was so embarrassed that I couldn't bring myself to apologize. Years and years later I was still feeling this low-grade guilt about that episode. Whenever I thought of my friend, I immediately thought of my offense against her. Finally I gathered up courage and called her on the phone. I said, "I am so sorry I took your ___, please forgive me." And you know what she replied? "I don't even remember that incident!" Then she told me that all these years she had felt guilty because she had promised to make me a cross-stitch picture (she does beautiful needlework) and she never had made it. And to that I replied, "I don't remember THAT!"
All these years we had felt guilty about an offense that the other person didn't even REMEMBER! We had assumed the other person was angry and hurt, when the other person had only good and friendly feelings! We had felt estranged when all the time the other felt only friendship. We had been living behind a barrier that didn't even exist, that wasn't even there! We both felt relief that day and were able to put all our fears and guilt to rest and get on with being friends again.
God and sinners reconciled - the baby born as King and Savior took away our sins and reconciled us to God. That's true for the whole world (John 1:29)! He has promised never to remember our sins again, for they are GONE! They were placed on Christ who became sin for us, and they were absorbed into death forever, never to rise up again. There is NO barrier between us and God! We feel estranged, when we think of Him we think of our offense, but He is feeling only love and friendship. We say, "Oh God, my sin!" And He says, "What sin? I've forgotten you ever sinned. I don't REMEMBER your sin!" The One we've assumed was angry and hurt is actually looking on us with love and acceptance! What a gift! We can look at God with clear and unashamed eyes, knowing we've got a Friend.
Through Jesus God has reconciled the world to Himself and made us His friends. The eyes of God which gaze on us are full of love and grace. We receive, we rejoice, we shout for joy, "God accepts me and welcomes me into His arms! My sins are gone and there is nothing between us! I am God's friend and He is mine!"