Christmas. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year. It's a season of love, family and giving. Everywhere you go you'll find beautiful decorations, festive Christmas music playing and, of course, a whole lot of Christmas cheer. Even as adults we look forward to experiencing the magic of Christmas morning and seeing the excitement of the kids in our families as they dig through their stockings and see what Santa brought them. However, amongst all of these wonderful things, it can be easy to forget what Christmas is truly all about, even as Christians.
This isn't to say that we need to forget about Christmas movies and Santa, but try to use these verses as reminders of what to focus on this year.
God's prophecy about the birth of Christ.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." — Isaiah 9:6-7
The old testament contains hundreds of prophecies that God created for our world, but one of the greatest of them is the coming of His Son to this earth. This prophecy was fulfilled with the birth of Jesus. Although this probably didn't actually occur on December 25th, this is the day that we have chosen to celebrate the fulfillment of this great prophecy.
The birth of Jesus.
"And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'" — Luke 2:7-12
Many of us know this part of the Christmas story by heart. However, how often do you pause to think about what an incredible miracle it was? This took place over 2,000 years ago, long before we were ever born, yet it was this day that our lives and destiny were radically changed.
The shepherds and Wise Men meet Jesus.
"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." — Luke 2:20
"When [the Wise Men] saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. The opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." — Matthew 2:10-11
Imagine meeting your favorite celebrity. Now take that excitement and multiply it by 100. This is what the shepherds and Wise Men experienced as they stood in Jesus' presence for the first time. This was only the beginning of Jesus' life on Earth, but the wise men knew the great joy that He was going to bring to this world and all the generations to come.
Jesus came to pay for our sins.
"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." — Matthew 1:21
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." — John 3:16
"'My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I shall give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.'" — John 10:27-28
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." — Romans 6:23
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." — 1 John 5:11-12
So we know that the coming of Christ is a big deal, but this verse tells just how big of a deal it really is. We think of Christmas as a time to give and receive gifts, but God gave us the greatest gift that we could possibly receive when he sent Christ to us. He gave us the hope and promise of forgiveness for our sins so that we might live an eternal life with Him.
The world's need for Christ.
"At one time we too were foolish, disobidient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." — Titus 3:3-7
Not only did Christ come to Earth to pay for the sins of future generations, but He also came to save the world from the evil it was filled with. Although our world will always be filled with sin, He brought love, kindness and grace back into the lives of the people.
Our hope, trust and peace lies in Christ.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." — Romans 15:13
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." — 1 Corinthians 1:3
The forgiveness, love and kindness alone that the Lord gifted us with is enough reason to spend more time celebrating Him this Christmas season (and every day), but it still doesn't stop here. He gives us peace and joy in exchange for simply trusting in Him. He gives us hope for our future on Earth as well as our eternal future with Him.
Christ brought so much to us when He was sent to Earth by God. While we should celebrate Him every day, Christmas is a special time of year when we can celebrate just how much changed by His birth.