A friend recently shared what Christmas really means to her. Usually we see this as a time of celebration of family, friends and food but have you ever thought about the deeper meaning behind the event?
“What does Christmas mean to you? Is it a time of magic and celebration? For many of us, our fondest memories of Christmas are from when we were kids, when Christmas meant waking up to find stockings magically filled and we enjoyed days free from school and with new toys. Yet, Christmas should be a wonderfully festive time for all of us; children, young people and adults alike.
After all, the first Christmas created quite a stir in the little town of Bethlehem. Pagan astrologers had traveled from afar to come and bring their foreign gifts to the newborn while the local blue collar workers in the surrounding fields left their jobs to see him. The King was so threatened by the new baby that he conspired to find out the location of the baby and have him murdered. If that wasn’t enough, angelic visitors appeared above the nearby farmland to attest to the uniqueness of this time and the importance of the new baby.
At the center of all this attention was a newborn called Jesus. The angel would say of his birth “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10, The Bible). This baby boy, wrinkled and red from the birth is the good news, good news that will bring joy for all peoples. How can that be?
Watching the TV news often doesn’t lead to great joy. Particularly this year, with the recent bombings in Paris, the atrocities in the Middle East and the ongoing struggles in many parts of the world. What news would bring joy? Maybe hearing that a cure for cancer has finally been found, that lasting peace has been brokered or that the stock market has gone up by 25%?
The good news of Christmas is that “a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:11), a child that will be called “Immanuel – which means, “God with us”.” (Matthew 1:23). Given our global and individual failings and weaknesses, don’t we all have a sense in which we need saving? A sense that things are broken in this world and that the brokenness is beyond our ability to fix and make right? Most of us admit to times of longing for something better, times when we wish we could be better people. Or of times of intense loneliness when we long for someone to really know and accept us.
The message of Christmas is that God knows of our brokenness and wickedness but do not fear: He has a plan! Jesus came to show us the depth of God’s love for all his people. He is the one who has come to fix what was broken, to usher in a better world and to give us the power to change. Jesus came to show us what God is like, the light in a world of darkness. Jesus came to give us himself: as friend, as king and eventually as sacrifice in our place so that we might be welcomed into God’s family. A true message of very great joy!
Christmas is about news: News that a Savior has come, News that God has come. But this is not a regular news update; this is news of great joy. Christmas is a time of great joy because of Jesus. And if Christmas doesn’t seem like amazing and joyous news, then may I suggest you haven’t yet firmly grasped the wonder of what God has done? This Christmas time, don’t be satisfied with Santa, good food and fun gifts. Dream bigger and be satisfied only with a Christmas that has Christ at the center.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas! May God bless you richly and may you know the soul satisfying joy in Christ that surpasses all things.”
Share this with your friends and family today!