24th December 2012

The Real Meaning Of Christmas

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon his shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV UK)

For so many people today Christmas is a commercial festival. TV ads bombard us with food, drink and present ideas that will make this festival just perfect for us. It seems every shop is decorated and full of special offers to entice us to spend our hard earned cash. The subliminal message is the more you spend and the more you get, the happier you will be. Buried under this commercial avalanche are things like carols, trees, shepherds, angels, a baby born in a stable, wise men with gifts, and a vague awareness that it may have something to do with us, but not much really!

Even the good things about Christmas have a downside. It’s a great family time with a lot of emphasis on families getting together. But what about those who live alone, who have no family? What about those who have family who live too far away, even in another country, to get together? This time of year can make them feel lonely and unloved. So, if you want to, you can find lots of reasons to dislike Christmas. I know people who actually refuse to celebrate it because they don’t want to get mixed up in all the commercialism and false bonhomie that surrounds this time of year.

But Christmas to me is not about all the nonsense that surrounds it. It is an annual reminder of the most important event that happened in Israel about 2000 years ago. The real meaning of Christmas is we can rejoice that our personal saviour, Jesus Christ, chose to be born a human being. He chose to share our humanity—to understand our weaknesses, our failings, our daily struggles, our obsession with the trivia of life.
Why? Because God loves us with all our faults and failings!
Why? Because no human being can lead a perfect, sinless life and the penalty for sin is death!
Why? Because, as God, he wanted to pay that death penalty in our place!

Even though you may not know it, you are already free because of what happened in Israel all those years ago. You don’t have to earn salvation in any way. Christ’s birth, his life as a human being, although fully God, leading to his death and resurrection, was and is all about you and me. There will come a day when all humanity will respond to that love and God is waiting for you with open arms. Whether you love Christmas as a great celebration or dislike the gross commercialism that surrounds it, don’t forget the real meaning. As the scripture above says, a child was born. But read on and think about what it also says about the future. The child grew, became a man, began his church and was then crucified, died and was resurrected. He will return as Lord of Lords and King of Kings to this earth. Then he will fulfil the rest of Isaiah 9.6 and the world will rejoice.

Loving Father, help us to stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas for us personally and for all humanity. To look back in wonder at Christ’s birth but also to look forward to Christ’s return which our world so desperately needs.

Study by Keith Hartrick

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