Christmas. The holiday of holiday’s. Most holiday’s we spend a day or maybe 2-3 days preparing for and celebrating, but Christmas gets almost an entire month…and if you’re in retail, then Christmas gets several months of attention. There’s parties, lots of gift buying and giving, traveling, decorations galore, Christmas movies, special church services to attend, and even special music to listen to. No other holiday gets all that.
For most of us, that is how we’ve celebrated Christmas our entire life, so it’s just the natural and understandable way to celebrate this holiday. We can comprehend why we go to Christmas parties, give and receive gifts, travel to visit people, decorate, watch Christmas movies, go to Christmas church services, and even listen to Christmas music. We can comprehend it all because it’s part of the feeling and spirit of Christmas that we are used to. If we took a year and didn’t do all of these things, it would probably not really feel like Christmas to us, even though the day would come just the same.
I might not be as big into some of the Christmas celebrations as others are; I’m not huge on decorating although I do enjoy it, and I’m not much for Christmas music, although again I do enjoy it. But I can still comprehend it all and why we do it all.
However, what I can’t comprehend is the true purpose and celebration of Christmas. I comprehend what we do to celebrate it and the purpose it serves in our calendar, but the true purpose and celebration of Christmas is beyond my comprehension.
Allow me to explain (because perhaps you are thinking I had too much eggnog last night)…
The purpose of Christmas was God sending his son Jesus to earth to become a man, being born in a stable. The celebration of Christmas was the angels announcing it to shepherds as they tended to their sheep. Then later there also appeared a star that wise men from a distant country found and followed, bringing them to Jesus a year or so later.
At this point you’re are probably thinking “Yea, I know the Christmas story…I’ve heard it a million times, and we have nativity sets in our house depicting it. What’s so hard to comprehend about it?”
Think about it again, in a bit more detail. God, the creator of the universe, enthroned in heaven, in total control of everything and not answering to anyone, majestic and holy and deserving of all honor and glory; that God sent his son, who was also God, to earth to be born as a helpless baby, being born in a stinky smelly animal stable. Then for the celebration of the God of the universe, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, being born as a baby, it was announced to lowly shepherds, as well as a star given to wise men who were in a distant country and had to travel to find Jesus.
I can’t fully comprehend that.
First, why wouldn’t the birth of Jesus, the son of God, be announced to the Priests and Religious Leaders, or at least more influential people in the community than the shepherds were? Why also announce it to wise men who lived far away, rather than to all the Jews who were living in the area and had been waiting for the Messiah to come?
Second, think about the fact that Jesus was sent from heaven to earth, from being in control of everything to being in a completely helpless state as a baby. Then add to it the fact that the overall purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to rescue and redeem us back to a right relationship with God. This was God’s rescue plan, meant for a people who continually walk away from him.
That’s why I can’t comprehend the true purpose and celebration of Christmas…because it’s too incredible for me to fully comprehend. I know the story and can understand what happened, but fully comprehending it I just can’t do. This is a story of God’s amazingly incredible grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, salvation, and sovereign plan…and all of that is beyond my ability to fully comprehend as a mere human.
I’m definitely thankful for the true purpose and celebration of Christmas. It shows me, and all of us, just how amazingly incredible and beyond our comprehension God’s grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, salvation, and sovereign plan is. The true purpose reminds me that God sent his son Jesus in order to rescue and redeem me, a sinner who does not deserve rescuing or redeeming. The true celebration reminds me that this plan is for everyone, not just those who look the most religious, are more influential in this world, or who are even actually consciously looking for God.
Christmas – God’s rescue plan, sending his son to become a man in order to offer redemption to all of mankind, despite our sin and desire to constantly walk away from him to do our own thing.
That is a meaning, when you think about it, that we will never be able to fully comprehend. It is beyond our ability to fully grasp as humans…but that doesn’t mean we can’t be extremely grateful and choose to live our lives for the God who went to such great lengths in order to rescue and redeem us.
This Christmas, I challenge you to look past the trees and decorations, look past all the gifts you’ve given and received, past all the food you will enjoy with friends and family, and past anything else you do to celebrate this holiday. Look past it all, and see that Christmas is when we celebrate God’s rescue plan…his plan to rescue and redeem us, even though we didn’t deserve it.
May we wee Christmas for what it really means, and choose to live our entire life for the one who sought to rescue and redeem us despite the sinners we are.