City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style…The decorations, the lights, the giving of presents and brotherly love. This is what Christmas means to so many. As a family we pile the children in the van one evening during the Christmas season and we drive around the area for several hours looking at lights all the while drinking hot chocolate and eating sugar cookies and playing Christmas music. We’ve been doing this for years and enjoy it each year as if it were the first time. Is this what Christmas is all about?
The giving of gifts is an exciting part of this season. It is neat to see the kids getting excited about their Christmas shopping and giving sacrificially to those they love, searching for that special gift for each family member. While time consuming, the making and giving out scones to the neighbors and friends is fun, knowing that you gave of your time and resources to be a blessing to those you know and love. Is this what Christmas is all about?
For many, giving out of our abundance and even sacrificially to worthy causes that touch our hearts is an important part of Christmas. Brotherly love tends to be a theme for many this time of year. Charitable giving is at its peak this time of year. Is this the meaning of Christmas?
Remembering the Christ-child being born in a manger over two thousand years ago is a wonderful event to ponder, not just around Christmas but all through the year. It’s amazing the numerous prophecies in the Old Testament that foretold of Christ’s virgin birth, what tribe he would come from and in which city he would be born have come to pass. Every prophecy in the Old Testament of the Messiah’s birth was fulfilled in Christ’s birth. But is the baby Jesus the complete meaning of Christmas?
Sadly, for many this year, these will be the only events that they celebrate. The lights, the decorations, the gift giving, brotherly love, and even the baby Jesus fall short of the full meaning of Christmas. For the Christian, the birth of Christ is only part of the Christmas event.
We celebrate each other’s birthday each year to remember the beginning of our life. Each year we look back at the previous year and recall the ups and downs of life and look forward to the unknown ahead of us. But for that baby in a manger, two thousand years ago, He knew what His life’s purpose was to be…to die. To die a bloody, painful, cruel death. The God/man who knew no sin, came to die so that each of us might live eternally with him. “For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17 “Here in is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation (he became our substitute and assumed our obligations) for our sins.” I John 4:10
Christ, the only Son of God, came to earth to die so that we might have eternal life through him. God sent His perfect gift to mankind, a gift that we could never obtain on our own through works or deeds. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6.
Yes, Christ came to earth as a babe in a manager, but He grew up and became our Savior. The full meaning of Christmas is: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” My version, Christ became man, to die, that we might live. Why do so many reject so great a gift?
Tomorrow morning, on Christmas day, we’ll get up and have fun, share gifts and enjoy the day, but I pray that before anything else, we celebrate not only Christ’s birth, but also be thankful for His sacrifice, so that through Him, and only through Him, we might be saved.
Merry Christmas, and praise God for His unspeakable gift of salvation.