It’s the most wonderful time of the year—Christmas!! We all have our favorite things about the season: caroling, amazing food, candy everywhere, time with family, parties, and lots of other delightful traditions. With so much going on, we can sometimes get so busy and overwhelmed that we can miss some important things, perhaps even the most important things! So what is Christmas really about? What is it that holds all these activities and traditions together?
Time with Family
If you’ve seen any of the famous Christmas movies, you’ve probably caught on to a recurring theme. Christmas isn’t about amassing stuff for yourself. It’s no time to be a recluse or a Scrooge or just treat Christmas like just any other day. So often in these stories, the mixed-up main character finds through a series of events that all the money and selfish living are empty and hollow, and he finds the value of friends and family, coming back to those who once loved him and adopting a loving and giving attitude.
This is part of what Christmas is all about, but as an ultimate meaning, even good things like friendliness and loving family fall short. Indeed, we should love others and value and appreciate our families all year long, and especially so at Christmas. This is a key part of what Christmas is all about. But why should we live this way?
Christmas is a time of giving. A time when we seek out others who are in need and bless them generously and graciously. Maybe we volunteer or buy gifts for the local homeless shelter. Or perhaps we team up with a program at church to deliver a turkey and loads of groceries to a needy family. These activities come even closer to the true meaning of Christmas, but as an ultimate meaning, even these will not do. Again, why are we to graciously love and give to the undeserving?
The root of all the good things we do at Christmas can be found in the very name of the holiday: Christ! The word means Messiah, the one sent by God to save His people. And that is exactly who Jesus is. The first one to be gracious, to love those who didn’t deserve it was God. You see, we were enemies of God, estranged from Him because of our sin. We are naturally in rebellion against our Maker due to the sin of our father and patriarch Adam, and our first desires are to please ourselves and live our own way.
He Loved the Unlovable
It was when we were in this sinful state, far from God and wanting nothing to do with Him or His Word that God sent the Christ. Jesus, eternal God from before the beginning of time, humbled himself and became a man. No time in history has such a momentous and glorious event occurred—the Creator of all things came to earth to be born as a baby. He did this not because it would be pleasant or easy, in fact it would be painful and difficult. Ultimately, he would be tortured and nailed to a cross to die a slow and agonizing death. This was God’s gracious plan to bring mankind back to Himself. You see, God is holy and perfect. He is Just. He cannot and will not ignore sin and sweep it under the rug. In order for you or me to be brought back into relationship with Him, punishment must be rendered. Jesus came to take that punishment—anyone who trusts in Him and accepts His substitutionary payment of our debt can be forgiven. It’s as if you were found guilty in court, but Jesus comes in and pays your fine for you. Your case is legally dismissed and you may walk out a free person!
We Love Because He Loved
We should be loving during Christmas and all times for the principal reason that God was loving to us. He didn’t wait for us to clean up and earn good things; He sent His Son to save us even while we were dirty and rotten, full of sin. We should love our families and be kind to each other because love and kindness are who God is. When we accept Jesus as Savior, we also accept Him as Lord. He is our shepherd, Father, and example. We read His Word to learn what He is like and how He desires us to live, and we make choices each day to live His Way.
This Christmas, let’s let the true meaning of Christmas undergird everything we do. Yes, let’s love others, value time with our family, and graciously give to those in need. But let’s do it with the understanding that it was God’s gift of His only Son that causes these actions for His Glory. Merry Christmas!!