It’s awesome to watch Christmas movies and do Christmas-y things. It’s so cool to get stuff and to experience the magic of the season. Christmas is a fun and wonderful time. But we wouldn’t have this holiday if we didn’t have Jesus. It’s important to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas as often as we can during the holidays because it keeps us grounded in the why and the who. Not just enthralled by the showiness of the season.
Jesus’ message was one of faith, hope, and love. He taught about humility and about how true religion is about redemption and relationship, not legalism and self-righteousness. There are so many pockets of his teachings that still deeply touch our lives today—about prayer, attitudes, responsibility, peace, truth, and trust. But beyond the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development that following Jesus will bring about for us, there’s a little part in the Christmas story that reminds us that Jesus wasn’t just a kind man (albeit with an interesting edge) or a good teacher (albeit controversial and often eluding). He was God’s Son and God himself (confusing?), the final lamb as a once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins (yes, he was wrongly murdered, but that was God’s plan all along), and Savior of the world (the afore-told Messiah). He came to us not as a king glittering with jewels but as a baby born in a stable. He’s supposed to be our place-taker. We are the ones who are supposed to die the atrocious death because of our sin, being Adam’s offspring and all. But God, in his great mercy, loved us enough to give us a way to make an exchange—with his only Son, no less (literally so).
So I think what gives me great pause when I consciously reflect on why Christmas is, is the depth of the meaning of who Jesus is. He’s not just symbolic of a generic “love” or “kindness” (both great things). But he’s The Great God’s gift to us—God with Us, Emmanuel. There is spiritual restoration that is available to us when we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he was actually resurrected and that he literally ascended into heaven. Sure, it’s weirdo stuff if you don’t believe in miracles and if you aren’t seeing and hearing with your spiritual eyes and ears—or understanding and feeling with your spiritual mind and heart. But we all have a spirit, and we all have the capacity to receive God’s message to us through the season of Christmas. So as we look at all the Christmas trees (ever-green even in winter, as our lives are in Jesus Christ) and lights (shining brightly in the night as our lives do because of Jesus’ life in us) and decorations (celebrations of an important event, as our worship is of our Lord and Savior as he was born, as he died, as he was resurrected, and as he ascended—and what that means for us), let us remember that there is a wonderful reason for this wonderful season. And his name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth: Son of God, and Savior of the world.