It's only a few more days until we celebrate one of the most significant events in universal history.
It's Christmas. God became man. Cue the corny carols, chintzy tinsel, and materialistic shopping sprees! Now wait just a second. Are we doing this right? Is this really all we do to celebrate this incredible event?
God became man. Am I the only one who feels like we sometimes gloss over the magnificence of this?
Don't worry. It's not too late to rescue this holiday and wrestle it back into producing the fullness of glory that Jesus Christ truly deserves. Of course, we know that "Jesus is the reason for the season." But Jesus is also so much more than quaintly off-putting reminders. Jesus is not only the reason for the season, He is the reason for the universe.
Why is it that we have a tendency to reserve certain passages of Scripture for this holiday and not allow others? We should certainly read the "Christmas story," and remind each other of the beautiful things that took place in the lives of Mary and Joseph in those fateful weeks leading up to the birth of our Savior. But, I think Christmas, and Jesus himself, deserve much more glory than this single story to celebrate His birth.
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven" - Hebrews 1:1-3
Hebrews 1:1-3 is a Christmas passage. This is more than a birthday party. God became man. The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe came down to live with us and rescue us. His Majesty sacrificed Himself upon a cross to purify us from our sins, and was raised with the dead thus giving us new life in Him. This deserves more than just shared fruit-cake and greenery-hanging in celebration, right? This Christmas, we can lift up the name of Jesus Christ because of the radiant love God has shown us through Him. This Christmas, we are also celebrating the Gospel!
Here's another gorgeous Christmas passage:
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:1-11
God became man. Don't miss this! Ponder the amount of humility this took. Jesus "emptied himself" to be with us and to die for us. And Philippians 2:1-11 instructs us to imitate this incredible humility by putting others above ourselves in the way Christ put us above Himself. That is Christmas, friends. That is worth not only celebrating but also practicing, not just on December 25th, but every single day of our lives. This Christmas, we have a responsibility to love others deeply and selflessly.
Yes, sing the carols and ring the bells. Yes, buy and give the gifts. Yes, hang the decorations and guzzel the egg-nog. But please, don't let this be "enough" for you. Christmas is more than a birthday party. It is a celebration of the Gospel! This year, celebrate it in light of the cosmic, history-changing, life-altering, eternity-saving glory of the sacrifice and gift of Jesus Christ. Let us put others' needs above our own. Let us be peacemakers and truth-tellers. Let us invite those who are lonely or lost into our homes. Let us reconcile with family members we've disagreed with and bless the out-of-touch friends we miss. Let us trade in the corny materialism for instead a beautiful, life-giving celebration of who Jesus is for us and who He can be for those around us that do not yet know Him.
I pray that you may cherish these passages of Scripture as your new favorite "Christmas" passages, and that we may both take to heart the awe-inspiring magnificence of this truth: God became man. Hallelujah!
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES