Christmas is coming! One of the ways we know it is the change in marketing tactics that happen this time of year. Commercials turn warm and nostalgic, with plenty of snow, red and green, families, fires, and nostalgia. Marketing folks are doing their hardest to persuade us that this Christmas season, as with every season past and future, we can fulfill ourselves by spending quality time with our families–and our new toys. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much Christmas has been commercialized and materialized.
So let me join in the chorus of reminders that Christmas is about something wholly different. It is not about trees and presents and decorations. It is not about competing with neighbors for the best display of lights. It is not even about family. It is about nothing other than the birth of the Son of God. That is why we celebrate Christmas.
Christ is called “Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) because when He was born, God came in human flesh (John 1:14). Christ’s birth is a sign from God of His immense love: by it God shows that He has not abandoned us. He cares enough about us to come and dwell among us. So great is God’s love that He sent Christ to die for us. In an allusion to Isaiah 53, the apostle Peter writes, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
23 [F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed overformer sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)
Consider these verses also: “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19a); “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless andabove reproach before him” (Colossians 1:21-22). Consider the implications of this! As you prepare for Christmas Day, consider the Gospel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”
Christmas is all the merrier for us because of our salvation. I should hope not to have to wish you a merry Christmas for you to be merry on that blessed day. May God be glorified in your Christmas by your contemplation and worship for His display of grace in the birth of Christ.