I know we get all caught up in the trappings of Christmas shopping and lights and eggnog and stocking stuffers and what to get the extended family members in a price that we can afford without offending them on how little we spent on them because it was actually what we could afford, but … Christmas, or at least Christ’s birth had a much more significant meaning.
In fact, when you really begin looking at the Biblical account of Christ, you will not find Santa Claus, Christmas trees, mistletoe, black Friday, red dot sales, Christmas cards, or even turkey dinners afterward. Looking at the biblical account of Christ’s birth and what goes one around December 25th in our lives is like looking at two different worlds all together. There is a real reason for that. What God was setting out to accomplish was, by design, not how the world would have it when it came to redeeming us from our greatest enemies. Maybe that is why Christmas and the biblical account of Christ’s birth are so vastly different in spirit. It is wonderful and spectacular that God became man. But mankind does not like the reason for this. We don’t want to hear His overall purpose in becoming flesh. For this reason, I believe this is why Christmas and Christ’s birth are so separated by culture and practice.
Christ’s birth is dealing with our sin. Christmas covers that up with pageantry and presents. Christ comes to live the obedient life. Christmas leads us into the decadent life. Christ comes to die selflessly on the cross. Christmas encourages us to live selfishly for ourselves (all silly arguments about that fact that we are ‘giving’ to others. When we remove all the false pretense, most of us live through Christmas with the attitude that it’s all about me!). Christ became flesh to live for the glory of the Father. Christmas encourages us to live to the glory of man.
I hope you are beginning to see the difference in the two. One is about what was necessary for our salvation, a bloody death by a sinless man, the other is about appealing to our flesh. If you doubt me in any of this, then let me test you on it. Take every gift that you receive at Christmas time back. Get the money, and go give to the local homeless shelter. Now answer honestly. Is Christmas truly about giving, or what we get?
Do you see the difference? Christ’s arrival in the flesh had nothing to do with me getting an Iphone (I’m not getting one, but you get the idea). What Christ set out to accomplish was much greater than the Iphone or any other trinket we might get during this season.
Just look at what the Father named His Son: Jesus. That is from the Hebrew word Yeshua, which is a shorter form of another Hebrew name which I can’t remember off the top of my head. But Yeshua has a specific meaning. It means He will certainly save. This means that Jesus came to save His people (all those who believe in Him for salvation) from their sins. It doesn’t mean that He might save, or that He makes it possible for us to be saved, but that He will save. The very meaning of His name nails us at every level because it removes us from the active role in our salvation. We are recipients of that salvation, thereby removing any level of pride or desire to make salvation our own.
This truly offends us and our independent spirits because it means that salvation is completely by grace alone. If we are saved, it is because the Holy Spirit moved in us, opening our eyes to our sinfulness, showing us our need for a savior and leading us to Christ, in whom we believe in for salvation. Our salvation is all God’s work. Yes, we do exercise belief, but not until God’s Spirit has move in us so that we can believe. Otherwise, we would remain in our unbelief and not be saved.
The point is that so much of what is put forth during Christmas time has really nothing to do with Christ’s birth and His purpose of becoming flesh. He dwelt among us to save us from the sin of our materialism. But for most of us, we like that sin. It’s comforting to us, at least for a time. But like all sin, it’s deadly to us in the long run. We need a Savior that not only saves us from our sin, but saves us from Christmas as well. Christ does all that, for this was His purpose and He accomplished what He came to do.