The world has made Christmas a frenzy of commercialism for many. People focus on everything they must do: buy and wrap gifts, bake cookies, decorate, and attend concerts or parties. Many fill their calendars yet still feel empty. Christmas is about so much more than just an expanded checklist.
Some emphasize family time. They gather with loved ones. They recall past memories and make new ones. They exchange gifts. They listen to favorite carols. But, while all of these can evoke wonderful feelings of nostalgia, you can still be missing the reason for the season.
Christmas is About Light
Eden’s Fall left the world a very dark place (Isaiah 60:2). We were cast out of God’s presence. It seemed as if there was no hope.
But God did not forget his first promise to send a Savior (Genesis 3:15). Christmas is the fulfillment of that promise.
I [Jesus] am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.John 12:46
Christmas is about light, but not the lights you hang on a tree. That would be fleeting. Nor is Christmas about you doing things to light the world. Because of sin, that would be far too dim. God’s command to “let your light so shine before men” was never about what we do, but rather to “glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). It is about pointing to what God has done for us in Jesus.
Christmas is all about the light Jesus came to bring. His light is hope. Hope was born and shattered the darkness of despair. Gabriel described Jesus as the “holy one” (Luke 1:35). Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). As the holy one who had no sin, Jesus was uniquely positioned to be the light this dark world so desperately needed.
Christmas Is About Peace
Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.Luke 2:14
Peace is in short supply. Nations war. Conflict abounds in relationships with others—all because of sin. Sin is a barrier and makes people enemies of God (Romans 8:7). Jesus came to remove that barrier and restore our relationship with God. He came to bring peace.
“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”Galatians 4:4-5
Jesus didn’t bring peace by providing us with second chances. History proved people could never live up to God’s perfect demands. We didn’t need another rule-giver. We needed a rule-keeper. So, that’s exactly why God sent Jesus. As man, Jesus could be born and live under the law. As God, Jesus could serve as a substitute for all humanity.
This peace comes into full view when you picture yourself standing before a holy God on Judgment Day. Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to stand on your own sinful record? That would result in an eternity separated from God. Thanks to Jesus, you don’t have to. He gave you a whole new record to stand on—his. When you trust in Jesus as your substitute, you are saved by his perfect life. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:1,10)
Christmas is an extraordinary celebration because it means we now have peace with God!
Christmas Is About Jesus
Some can stare at a nativity yet still miss its meaning. Christmas is not about a cute baby, his virgin mother, or some shepherds from the back hills of Bethlehem. Christmas is about God’s rescue mission for all the world.
As the eternal Son of God, Jesus is equal to Father (Philippians 2:6), yet he came in humility. He was born in a much humbler way than most. His entire life reflected a low standard of living. Yet, most humble of all was his mission. Jesus took on human flesh and became a servant “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).
God sent his Son, the greatest gift this world will ever know, to suffer a horrible death as the payment for the sin of the world (John 1:29). What makes this gift generous beyond comprehension is that he won this forgiveness for many who did not appreciate it—even for those who would reject it. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11)
Christmas isn’t about anything you do. It’s about what Jesus has done.
Many in Jesus’ day trusted in their own efforts rather than in his saving work alone. They were looking for someone to show them the way. Tragically, they completely missed the one who himself is the way (John 14:6).
Don’t get caught up in the outward trappings of Christmas and miss the reason for the season. It’s not about our dim efforts to light the world but rather about the one who came to be the light of the world (John 8:12). It’s not about our ever-failing efforts to keep the law but rather his perfect record on our behalf. God kept his promise and sent Jesus (his name literally means “one who saves”). Trusting in him alone, you’re able to fully appreciate what Christmas is all about.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”Acts 4:12
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