Merry Christmas, dear readers,
On this day each year and on the days leading up to it, we hear these five words so frequently strung together:
“the true meaning of Christmas”
Late November, I thought about this phrase. If I was asked to explain what this “true meaning” is, what answer would I give?
I couldn’t summarize it in one concise sentence. So please bear with me as I start in a place that might seem irrelevant at a glance. But I truly believe that to understand and appreciate the “true meaning of Christmas” you and I need to understand that we are all born hopelessly lost sinners.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Every single person is born with this tendency to sin as a part of their nature.
Without fail, though? There is one exception: Jesus Christ. He was born human but he was born sinless.
What really amazes me is that Jesus didn’t have to be born. Even before he was born as a human, Jesus existed. He was and is God. But He was born.
Why would Jesus choose to be born as a human?
To free us:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Why would Jesus set sinners free? Because He loves us:
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.
But why would Jesus love us? I can only think of one answer:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
By human reasoning, how could anyone come to the conclusion that God would choose to save those who rebel against Him? But for reasons unknown to me, He chose it anyway.
Thus, my summary of the true meaning of Christmas: God chose to free those who rebel against Him because He loves them… because He’s God.
This is one approach to explaining Christmas. How would you explain why you celebrate it year after year? How do various traditions point you to of distract you from the true meaning?