“And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:9-11
This magnificent announcement is Good News indeed! The good news about Immanuel– God with us (Mathew 1:23) and the fulfillment of the messianic prophesy in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
So what is the true meaning of Christmas? People give different answers. For some, it is a time of giving, for some it is about family, friends, and relatives, and for some it is about celebrating the birthday of Jesus. All of these answers make sense if we understand the true significance of Christmas; else, it is just like any other celebration. We all know that Christmas is the celebration of God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. But it is only when we truly understand why He did that can we celebrate Christmas with all our heart. The birth of Jesus was a joyous occasion because of the purpose behind it. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great day. They knew this was no ordinary baby and that the prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that free gift of love (Romans 5:8). This is a timeless truth. Good news that is relevant and true for every generation!
Sometimes, we need to just slow down and focus on the real Christmas story – the story of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Christmas is a great occasion for us to gather with our loved ones and read and meditate on this wonderful story of the birth of Jesus Christ and to worship Him. It is also an occasion for us to pass on the faith to the next generation. Also, maybe it’s time for us – both as individuals and as churches, to reclaim Christmas from what it has become – a celebration of exuberant consumerism and get the focus back on what it is – the celebration of the Incarnation – the Word becoming flesh, God coming to us! And as we do that, may we worship Him with all our hearts, mind and soul. Because the true meaning of Christmas is found in celebrating and worshiping Jesus. Merry Christmas!