Among many things, Christmas affords us the opportunity to focus on the birth of Christ. His entrance into time as a man was no ordinary one. The creator of time changed the course of time and history when He came; affirming with obvious proofs He was and is the Creator, and Lord over all things. His birth was no ordinary one; He was conceived of the Holy Spirit––born of the Virgin Mary.
Just considering those realities sets the birth of Christ on a bar no other human will ever attain. That makes His birth an extraordinary one and worthy of consideration.
So how can we truly make the most of this time? Well, for one, keep shopping for gifts for friends and family members. Send out those Christmas cards with yearly family summaries. Enjoy the relationships God has blessed you to have. Laugh as much as you can, especially with your spouse if you are married or your siblings if you are still at home. Embrace the simple blessings God has given you, knowing you can enjoy just what you have because your joy is Christ.
But is this what I wanted to tell you? No, not really; but enjoyment is good as long as we are truly grateful to God for all his blessings. Beyond that I would like to help the person who may not have a family close by. I think about the men and women in the armed forces who may not be home for the holidays. Maybe the loss of a loved one makes this season difficult. Maybe those who are disappointed during this year far outnumber those who are excited about it.
For that reason, I would like to provide a few helpful directives for this season. Because whether you are near or far, alone or with the company of family or friends, if you begin to enjoy this season with Christ truly at the core, the external conditions will not exceed what we know to be true based on Scripture.
What does Scripture provide for us? I know celebrating Christmas day is not commanded but the birth of Christ was and is a significant occasion, especially for those who have been saved. But I think it would be helpful to focus on the basic themes surrounding that day as Scripture unfolds it for us. And when we do, whatever we receive or do not receive will never overshadow the joy of Christmas.
Focus on the Glory of God: This is obvious to us and clear from Scripture. God’s glory was seen in the birth of Christ. Prior to this, the glory of God was without mention for an extended period of time. Years of silence filled the earth, God no longer met with His people as He once did in the Temple or the tabernacle. But in Christ, the glory of God was seen. The angels along with the host of heaven gave glory to God (Luke 2:14); the shepherds worshipped God (2:20); the magi worshipped him (Matt. 2:11). And because we have been saved by God’s grace, we too can glorify God because the coming of Christ made it possible for us to do so. All who encounter Christ glorify Him.
Focus on the Purpose of Christ’s Coming: The writer Luke articulated this so well. In the first 2 chapters of Luke you have dispersed throughout his account what Christ would accomplish. Evident in that section was fulfillment of prophecy. This is unlike any other great man or self-proclaimed prophet. Christ came to fulfill God’s promise, an eternal plan to deliver His people (Luke 1:67-75; 2:29-32). The early believers knew this to be true. Among all of the things we can do, this should be at the top of our list of enjoyments, focusing on the purpose of His coming.
Find Creative Ways to Tell Others: Simple but yet needed. Many people have no idea why Christ came. You may not find this shocking, but equally shocking is the probability that we are not always inclined to tell them. Although we may do so using technology and other means of communication, most of our network consists of people we know. And for that reason, they are either followers of Christ or familiar with Christianity. So we are most likely preaching to the choir.
But the time to go outside of our comfort zone and engage with others is the Christmas season. This is the most wonderful time of the year to let them know that Christ came to bring hope into a hopeless world. So while we read and implement our various traditions during this season, add to that the declarative part. Declare the good news of Christ’s birth, life, and sacrifice for sinners. There is no way we can fully celebrate the life of Christ without going all the way to the cross and beyond. Jesus came to give His life a ransom for sinners (Matt. 20:28). Trust me, Christ will not be disappointed or embarrassed if you made that known during Christmas. If you tell others that He became a curse for us, died an unjust death for sinners who deserved God’s wrath, Christ will not be angry you said this. That is why He came.
Now you would notice I did not provide any traditional suggestions. That was intentional. Because the Scripture did not command us to celebrate Christmas, we are all free to adopt God-honoring activities during this season (That includes the Christmas haters. Christmas haters can expend their energy declaring the gospel! That is one way to channel their energy). What we must not set aside to do these things is the heralding part. When men encountered the reality of Christ and who He was, they gave glory to God or they made it known to others.
If Christ has so profoundly revealed Himself to you, those are the most basic responses from recipients of His gracious love and care.
So go tell it everywhere; and you don’t have to be on the mountain, or the hills. You can be alone or abroad. Wherever you are, go tell the world just how eternally significant the birth of Christ was.