“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’” -Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)
One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know?”, written by Mark Lowry. In this song, the tender moment of Mary holding the newborn Jesus is placed into perspective in light of who He is and is destined to be. His mission to redeem humanity from sin is illustrated in the final line of the first verse; “This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.”, and concludes with a powerful line describing His divine nature; “This sleeping child you’re holding, is the Great I Am.” The entire song essentially summarizes why every year Christians all over the world take great joy and celebration on this day. It marks the entrance of hope into a world of darkness; the hope that through Christ will come man’s deliverance from sin and despair.
What is the true meaning of Christmas? Over two thousand years later, it has become saturated by an excessive consumerism; exploited by those who are obsessed with gaining wealth and prestige. Yet while we know that this rampant materialism has failed to attach meaning to Christmas, we try to find its meaning elsewhere. One place is in the warmth and joy spent with family and friends. But though this is important and good, it is not the reason why Christmas is celebrated. We may even pay a nominal acceptance of the fact that it is about Christ and erect our Nativity scenes depicting baby Jesus. However, unless we have gone beyond the image of the infant Christ, have understood the true purpose of His coming down to Earth, and have personally allowed His Spirit to carry out His restorative work in our lives, the celebrations of Christmas hold no meaning. To truly celebrate Christmas is to dwell in the joy of knowing that on this day our Savior, Jesus Christ was born. In His infinite love He had one sole purpose; to save humanity through His death and to give us life through His resurrection. Outside of Christ there can be no other meaning to Christmas. No other substitute will be able to match the glory of Christ’s entry into the world, and the implications it has for all mankind.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.