As Christmas approached, I was always asked the same question you were asked. "Have you been a good boy?" (or girl...maybe it wasn't the SAME question). What a question! This would have been the closest I would have known to my own Day of Atonement. What are we talking about here? For an entire year? I mean, we only ask that each Christmas; so we must be talking since last Christmas. Well no, I don't suppose I have been a good boy...for an entire year. Do you know how hard it is for me to be a good boy for an entire year? Just mark it down as an impossibility.
But I always got Christmas presents anyway; regardless of my flawed year-in-review.
The Jewish people had a certain thought concerning the Messiah's coming; that they would have to collectively honor fully the Sabbath for four straight weeks, but like normal human beings, that could not last a day. They were convinced they would have to earn and deserve the coming of a Messiah to deliver them. But Jesus doesn't wait until you deserve him, because you will never deserve him. I will never deserve the freedom and forgiveness that he offers as a gift.
Jesus is not a reward for the righteous or a prize for the pious. Jesus was and is a gift for the imperfect. He is good news for the failures who try hard by are unable to live out the perfection they wish they could.
I will never be good enough to earn his gift, but thats the good news of this story. It is a gift for the broken and sinful; not a prize for the perfect.