True Meaning of Christmas

The holiday season ushers in a time of anticipation as we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and the anniversary of the infant Jesus’ birth. This year more than ever, we are grateful for this occasion to reflect and rejoice in what Jesus’ appearance means for a world in need of the light he brings – a light which the darkness cannot overcome, as Pastor Brian reminded us recently.

There are so many details that surround the celebration of Christmas that it is easy to miss the meaning. Christmas is not about the parties, the presents, or the poinsettias. It is not about the food, the festivities, or even about family. It is not the greenery or the garland; not the Christmas cards, credit cards, or carols; not about tinsel or traditions.

That fact is this: Christmas is solely about God. Christmas is about God fulfilling his promises, saving his people, coming to us — as one of us — in Jesus. The truth can be so easily missed: Christmas is nothing but Jesus. And if Jesus is not in Christmas, then Christmas is nothing at all!

The miracle of Christmas is that God chose to come be with us in Jesus Christ. While we may over-romanticize the stable where Jesus was born, we can know that this birthing place speaks volumes about God’s infinite courtesy towards all people. Jesus was born in an earthy, raw, smelly stable, not in a temple or royal palace.

Being born in such a place is God’s way of showing that Christ comes to us in all sorts of human conditions — earthy, smelly, broken and accomplished. No matter what we have done or have not done, God comes to be with us in Jesus Christ where we are in life, and out of his great love for all humanity.

4“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:4-20

During Advent, we contemplate how God became man in the form of Jesus, and the future coming of Christ that heralds God’s promise of a new heaven and a new earth. We can celebrate the gift of salvation and the eternal hope secured, in addition to the peace and joy that walking daily with Christ provides.

As 2021 approaches, we are thankful for each member of the Oroville Christian School family and, by extension, the Evangelical Free Church of Oroville.


Mark Bates

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