In a book for children, one character asked, “What’s the real meaning of Christmas?” One of the other characters answered with a quote from the gospel of Luke, chapter 2, about the angels announcing to the shepherds that Jesus was born. That reminds me of a phrase I hear often, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” For the Christian believer who has turned away from the world mindset, that’s true.
But for those who are still caught up in what is called the secular worldview, there are various “reasons for the season.” Many merchants see Christmas as an opportunity for increased profits. For some people, it’s an excuse for big parties or getting gifts. For others, it’s all about family, giving, sentimental love, or one of the occasions when one goes to church. Then there are those who think of Christmas as a time of fund-raising, since people often feel more generous at this time of year.
I don’t have a problem with any of these things, but they do get a person’s focus off of God and onto self, and they miss what God said is the reason for celebration. The Christ-centered person can remember to celebrate the advent of the long-awaited Jewish Messiah in the birth of Jesus. We can remind ourselves that the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, came humbly to this world as a fragile baby to become Immanuel, God with us. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He lived a sinless life, not only as an example to us, but also so that in His innocence He could take on yours and my sin at the cross.
Those who trust Christ for salvation know that even though the “Christmas Story” ends with the visit of the wise men, the true story of Jesus doesn’t end there. Neither does it end at the crucifixion. How thankful I am that it goes on to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ so that now He is alive forever, has a name above every other name, and is the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.
Come and magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together! (Psalm 34:3)