What Is The True Meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is my favourite time of the year, as I’m sure it is for many people around the year. It’s a magical time of the year when families make tremendous efforts to see each other. It’s a time for giving, compassion, and even romance.
For children, it’s a time when Santa Claus comes down the chimney and leaves them a few surprises underneath the tree.
Businesses throw office parties, people everywhere decorate their houses with lights and trees, and carollers bring festive cheer at our doorstep.
But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it really all the gifts waiting for us beneath the tree? Is it the decorations, the homemade cards, the snow, the stockings, the mistletoe, the parties and the eggnog?
It’s hard to say that it is when you consider the amount of people who suffer through great joy at Christmas time. The homeless, the vulnerable and the poor don’t have the money we do to buy gifts for their family, or even their children. In fact, there are a great number of people who spend Christmas alone, and have only their memories to console themselves. Their hearts ache, and a turkey dinner with loved ones can only ever be a wish.
But seen from a Biblical perspective, Christmas can – and should be – a time of awesome joy. It is the season when God shows us His radiant love for us all. It’s a season of renewed strength, healing and conviction. Because it is at Christmas time when we celebrate the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
According to scripture, God sent us His Son Jesus to be born. His birth, which is described in the New Testament Gospels, brought endless joy and salvation into the world. Everyone shared in the excitement, from wise men and angels, to shepherds and ordinary folk. They knew this Baby of Mary and Joseph’s was something special, extraordinary. The Prophets had already spoken of His coming, and on the night of His birth, the star of David hovered over Bethlehem, so that those who wanted to find this extraordinary Child would be able to.
As it says in Luke 2: 4-19:
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a Child. While they were there, the time came for the Baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
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 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.
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, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
We can ask ourselves why Jesus came, and why God decided to send Him to our at times cruel world. The answer is in the Bible: 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)
Jesus Christ’s story of love, hope and truth is timeless, and is as relevant to us today, as it was to the people back then. It has brought us all salvation, and without this coming of Christ we would all of die in our sins. Jesus gave us love, hope, peace, salvation and forgiveness of sin, all of these are free gifts offered by grace for those who receive them through faith.
Essentially, Christ was sent among us so that we could all be saved. According to scripture, we have all sinned, and sin by nature. It’s just in us to sin. We might not intend to, but we all do things which God would not be happy with. This goes all the way back to original sin, when Adam fell into temptation and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. It left a mark on us all, and the only way to remove it is via Jesus.
He came and died on the cross, not for Himself, but for all of us and our sins. Once we realise this, we can welcome Jesus into our hearts as our Savior and ask Him for forgiveness. Then and only then are we made clean and whole. With confidence, we know that there is a place waiting for us in Heaven.
Happiness is possible at Christmas time. Sure, for some of us Christmas can be a tough time. Perhaps you haven’t got enough money this year to treat those you love, or maybe you’re reeling from a few mistakes you’ve made. Just know that, despite whatever is happening, God is always there for you. He loves you and He has proven it by giving us His only Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from sin and death. When you receive Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved.
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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17)
Eat, drink, and be merry. Happy Christmas!