It’s that time of year again, can you believe how time flies? This year seems to have gone very quickly and here we are gearing up for Christmas and the festive season once again. For most of us it’s a great time of the year if not hectic and a little pricy!
Nowadays, Christmas time means many different things to as many different people.
To children, Christmas means presents, trees, toys, sweets, lights, Santa Claus and stories about Jesus, the baby of Bethlehem. To young people it means special parties, social events, entertainment and a break from school, college or Uni. To adults it means shopping, writing cards, wrapping presents, decorating homes and working extra hours to pay for the Christmas bills. Of course, it also means a few days off work watching Morecambe and Wise, the Queen and James Stewart in ‘it’s a wonderful life’ on the box. To the business man, it means cashing in on increased sales to bring in the highest profits possible. Christmas means many things to many people according to their background, age and interest.
To some it means a visit home and family get togethers, to others it means a sad memory as they look over the past year or so and think of the loved ones they have lost. To others it means revelry – food, drink, and over-indulgence. To millions of people it means nothing. They do not care for the meaning of Christmas and December 25th is just another day. For them, Christmas time is just an uncalled for, expensive inconvenience.
I wonder what Christmas really means to you?
Christmas and what it represents means everything to the Christian believer – or at least it should! It’s the time of the year when we particularly celebrate the incarnation of Christ – ‘When God became flesh and dwelt among us.’ It shows that God really loves us. It means that God has regarded man’s lost condition and has done something about it. It means God has given the best gift the world has ever known and that the Saviour is born to set an example with His life, to die for our sins, to be raised and conquer our worse enemy – death, to give us new life and eternal life with Him in Heaven. No wonder the Word of God says ‘Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!’
We live in days when many would have us believe that beings from outer space and far away places have visited planet earth. However, most experts say there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone from outer space or a far off place has ever set foot upon the earth. Of course, I agree with them, yet in truth, they have overlooked the one exception. The Bible tells us “But when the fullness of 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). Christmas time is the one specific time in the year when we remember the world has had a visitor from a far off place, the God of very God, Jesus, who came and walked in human flesh on this earth.
Cradled in that cattle manger in that stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago were the hopes and dreams of a dying world. Those little fragile fingers and hands which clasped the straw in His manger crib were soon to open blind eyes, unstop deaf ears, and still the troubled seas. The crying and cooing of the baby was soon to be lifted to command demons to depart, to teach men of the Way, and to raise the dead. Those tiny feet were to take Him to the sick and needy and were finally to be pierced on Calvary’s cross.
It was the babe in that manger crib in that remote town that was the link that bound a lost world to a loving God. “The Word [had indeed] become flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Christmas means God is interested in the affairs of man. Christmas indicates He loves us, so much that He was willing to give His Son.
The real happiness of Christmas is not the pleasure generated by the exchanging of gifts, or the festive break and all the trimmings, but the fact of the incarnation, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.
What’s more, to us as Christians the joy of Christmas is not just limited to His birth, gloriously supernatural as that was, because He was born of a virgin. But it is built even more on the triumph of His death and resurrection. It is His death and resurrection that give real meaning to His birth.
It is impossible to celebrate the birth of Christ without thinking of the Cross. There was both light and shadows that first Christmas. There was joy of the Christ being born but it was also tinged with overtones of sadness as well, for Jesus was born to die. Jesus, approaching the cross, said, “Unto this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world” (John 18:37).
The truth of the matter is all that Christ did on earth was incidental to His crowning act of redemption on Calvary’s hill.
The very reason we all give and receive gifts at Christmas is the afterglow of Calvary’s love. So as we exchange our gifts on Christmas morning let us remember they are symbolic of the unspeakable gift of God’s wonderful love.
It is said that Longfellow could take a worthless sheet of paper and write a poem on it worth thousands of pounds. Rockefeller could sign his name to a cheque and it was worth millions. A mechanical engineer can take £5 worth of materials and make it worth £105. An artist can take an inexpensive piece of canvas and paint a picture on it, which, in future years, could be worth thousands of pounds. And God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it clean in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, put His Spirit into it, and make that life both blessed and a blessing to the world in return.
But even God cannot accomplish this miracle unless He is given a chance. If we come to Him this Christmas time, as did the shepherds and kneel before him in surrender, and let Him have His way in us, He will make our lives beautiful indeed. So come now, let us adore Him!
Have a wonderful Christ filled Christmas,