The Beauty of Christmas

‘I love Christmas.  I really do.  I was listening to an interview with Dr. John MacArthur in which he stated that he has a love/hate relationship with Christmas.  On the one hand, MacArthur said that he loves that December is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ especially by the Church.  The Church celebrates the birth of our Lord but we also recognize that the Word became flesh (John 1:14).  We recognize the mystery of the incarnation of God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 3:16).

Yet, like MacArthur, I also share in his hatred of Christmas because how this celebration has become associated with getting stuff.  I enjoy giving and receiving presents but the world has made Christmas synonymous with stuff.  Where is the joy of the birth of Christ?  Where is the realization that Christmas is about God giving His Son (John 3:16) and not about our greed and desire for stuff.

When I was a boy, I loved Christmas because of the stuff.  My parents raised me to believe in Santa Claus and I believed that I could ask him for anything I wanted and he and his elves would work hard in the north pole to grant me my wishes.  In the midst of this, my dad would read the Christmas story to my sister and I on Christmas morning while I sat starring at my stuff that I would forget about in a week or two.  While I understood that Christmas was vaguely about Christ and His birth, I believed it to be more about Santa Claus and getting kids more toys (and mainly toys that were too expensive to ask for throughout the year before).  Christmas was about Christ but more about my greed than about His birth.  Santa Claus made sure of that.

When I became a Christian, this all changed.  I sit here now having been a Christian for over 20 years.  Through the years my love for Christmas grows.  I love the theology behind Christmas.  I love that we celebrate our Lord’s birth despite my own judgments that He was not born on December 25.  I love that twice in a year (this and Resurrection Sunday or Easter as it is commonly known) we celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ like no other times.  The world despises both holy days.  The world wants to rob Christ of Christmas but they can’t.  Christmas remains with Christ in Christmas. The fact that Christ was born of the virgin, that He lived a sinless life, that He did great miracles, that He taught the people, and that He suffered, was crucified, killed, buried, and then rose again flies in the face of the lost world that would like to keep Christ out of Christmas.

The mystery of Christmas is not that it endures despite the world trying so hard to take Christ away from this day.  The mystery is the incarnation of God.  While people will forget about Jesus after December 25, for the child of God, the mystery remains and one that I rejoice in all year.  I remember someone wrote a song called “Like Christmas All Year Round” and for the disciple of Christ, it is just that.  For me, the joy that I have at my Lord’s birth is not just felt on December 25 but all year long.  I rejoice that Jesus has come.  I rejoice that Jesus is coming again (Acts 1:11).  I rejoice that Jesus is now praying for me before my Father in heaven (Hebrews 7:25).  I marvel at His perfect life that He lived for me (2 Corinthians 5:21).

For me, Christmas is the mystery of the God of glory coming down to His people.  The light of the world (John 8:12) has come to bring us who are in darkness the true light (Matthew 4:16; John 1:9).  The Shepherd who will shepherd His sheep has come (Matthew 2:6; John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20).  God has become a man (John 1:14, 18).  This is the joy of Christmas.  This is the mystery of Christmas and one that I gladly rejoice in.

Merry Christmas to all and may the God of glory fill you with His love by His grace this Christmas season.’

source: The Seeking Disciple (arminiantoday).

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