Have you ever heard the Stevie Wonder song, “What Christmas means to me”? It’s a fairly normal 1960’s Christmas song that lists off a number of special things about Christmas. Mentioned in the song are mistletoe, smiling faces, snow and ice. But no Jesus. And I feel this sums up many of our Christmas experiences. Christmas has become a list of traditions or activities that make us feel happy or nostalgic, but it has been stripped of its greater meaning. (And yes I know Christmas isn’t the exact birthdate of Jesus, but it still represents the real, historical birth of the most important person to ever walk the planet). So what does Christmas mean to me?
Jesus– Christmas means nothing without Jesus. It is just a bunch of trinkets that will fade away. Or fun moments, (or tense/awkward depending on your family), that could be replicated at other times throughout the year. What makes Christmas meaningful is that it’s all about Jesus. It’s a celebration because of who Jesus is. Isaiah 9:6-7, foretelling the birth of Jesus says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponhis shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” That is why Jesus is so amazing, (who doesn’t love these verses and wish to see this?), and thus what makes Christmas incredible.
Rescue-Christmas also is important because it is where God comes to rescue us. This is huge for me because I realize how badly I am in need of rescue. When I take stock of my life, (actions, words and thoughts), I don’t look back with immense pride over my accomplishments. I don’t look back and think what an amazing man I have become. I look back and realize what a screw up I am and how amazing it is that I am who I am today because of His grace to me. Christmas means so much because it is when God stoops down to save sinners like me. Paul understood this when he said “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15). When you realize how great your need is you will naturally be amazed at how great Christmas is.
Sovereignty– God is in control. I feel this is no more clear in scripture than in the birth of Jesus Christ. There are so many prophesies that are completely out of Jesus’ control that are fulfilled in His birth that we can only be amazed at God’s sovereign hand in it all. Christmas is a comfort to me because it reminds me that if God could move the plans of a government to have a census, or move a star to show people the way or move the hearts of pagan wise men to worship then He is sovereign over whatever I am going through. The God who moved the universe to show the way to Jesus is the same God who controls everything going on in my life.
Christmas is so much more than the sparkly toys and family traditions we hold dear. Yes those things are fun, but they miss on the more ultimate and more glorious truths of Christmas. We can’t be satisfied with a red bow on a new car when eternal life and everlasting joy are offered to us at Christmas. Let’s not forget that Christmas is so much more than mistletoe, smiling faces, snow and ice. It’s about Jesus coming to rescue us through the sovereign hand of God our Father. That’s what Christmas means to me.