Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, which makes today, as my late Papap would say, Christmas Eve Eve. So today, I wanted to stop and reflect on the meaning of Christmas. Now I don't mean the secular meaning of Christmas, even the most noble ones. It's not that I don't think family is an important part of Christmas, but it's secondary. The real reason is, as the first chapter of the Gospel of John stated, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) and As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
My friends, Christmas is, first and foremost, about God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, came to Earth and walked amongst us for 33 years before going to the cross to pay the penalty for all mankind's sin. Some of us focus on the cross, as we should, and others focus on the empty tomb at Easter, as again we should (for the grave could not keep Jesus down!) but at Christmas it is important to pause and dwell also on the fact of Immanuel: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Immanuel, of course, means, "God with us."
While Jesus could have simply come to Earth as an adult, lead his three year ministry, die on the cross and resurrect on the third day, He chose otherwise to live amongst us for thirty-three years. That means, as a Christian, we have a God who lived the human condition. Jesus ate food and drank beverages. He used the bathroom. He had parents. He had brothers and sisters. He had a job, prior to setting out on his ministry, as a carpenter, alongside his foster father Joseph. He had friends, including one of his closest who ultimately betrayed him. He mourned those who died. He was rejected. He was an infant. He was a child. He was a teenager. He is an adult. He died. (He then rose again, hallelujah!) He lived the human experience.
To those of us who serve Him, we have a God who understands our experiences not only because He created us, but also because He LIVED what we are living! That is the meaning of Christmas, dear friends. So as we enjoy family, and friends, and gifts, let us remember the greatest gift of Christmas, the Christ child, Immanuel, God with us!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.