Can you believe that there is less than a week until Christmas, and I just began Christmas shopping yesterday. It seem that each year Christmas comes faster and faster. Of course we have our tree up, we have been to see two different light shows and our youngest has had her Sunday School Christmas program, but am I really ready for Christmas.
It is so easy this time of year to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle. In the midst of all this business we need to take time to focus on God. We need to remember the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” In light of this, I decided to read through an advent devotional this year to help me remember the true message of Christmas.
As I consider the real message of Christmas, I am reminded of A Charlie Brown Christmas when Charlie ask, “Isn’t there anyone, who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus then proceeds to quote Luke 2:8 – 14;
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Linus is, of course correct, this is what Christmas is all about. But the more I have thought about it, I have realized that if we leave the message of Christmas at this, we may feel good, but the real message is lost. “CHRIST IS BORN!”, the end. If this is the end, then it is us Paul is speaking about in 1 Corinthians 15:19 when He says, “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” You see, as miraculous as it is, that God Himself was born a baby that day, if that is all there is, then the message has no point. There must be, and there is, more to the message of Christmas. But what is this message.
When people meet me and I am wearing my normal jacket, one of the first things that people notice is that my left lapel is full of different pins. These include boy scout pins, railroad pins and even my FFA Chapter Farmer pin. But the next thing they notice is that there are only two pins on my right lapel. Here you will find one pin that is golden star with a nativity scene placed in front of it. I wear this year around to remind me and those I meet, that God became a man and was born . The second pin is a small hilltop with three crosses. A reminder to me and those I meet that Christ gave up his life on the Cross for each of us.
Jesus was born, flesh and blood like us, and He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. This is the full message of Christmas. Not simply that Christ was born, but that He was born to die on the Cross. That He came into this world to take on the sins of the world. That He dwelt among people to lead them to God.
The message is not simply that a baby was born, but that God provided a way for man to come before Him. This true message of Christmas can be found in Philippians 2:6 – 11
“6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Without the cross, the birth has no point, but at the same time, without the birth, the cross has no meaning. Christ birth does not provide salvation, and were He not born a human being, then his death would not have been a sufficient sacrifice.
So as we celebrate this Christmas with family and friends, as we enjoy the gifts and the Christmas dinner, letter us take time to remember the real message of Christmas, that he was born to pay the price for our sins.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted.” John 3:16 – 17 (The Message)