Christmas is About…
Familiarity is a danger to Christians at Christmas. We must be attentive to the incarnation story at a pace and depth that reintroduces and reinforces the mystery of the second Person of the Trinity, leaving heaven and taking on human flesh, and dwelling in the midst of humanity. Jesus became fully man at His incarnation (Jn 1:14).
Jesus’ divine conception by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20), in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Is 7:14), purposefully avoided the original sin of Adam (Gen 3; Rom 5:12). Whereas everyone else was conceived in sin and is born with a sin nature (Eph 2:3), Jesus was not sired in Adam’s sinful line. The seed at conception was holy and supernaturally placed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20). Thus, Jesus was like us in the flesh, yet without sin (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15).
It is the work of Satan to add confusion to Christmas. As our culture grows more secular, the idea of the sin-bearer being born is increasingly unknown. Materialism has been popular for some time, but more recently socialism has hijacked the Christmas story for its agenda. In this scheme, Joseph and Mary are asylum seekers. The baby Jesus receives government assistance, through redistribution of wealth from kings. Mary’s testimony about her sex life is an example of how society should believe women, when they tell their stories. Christmas is about God favoring the poor and marginalized, despite the Bible’s testimony that God is impartial when He judges (Dt 1:17; 10:17; Job 34:19; Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9).
In Luke’s Gospel, we have the most central passage, highlighting the true purpose of God’s Son leaving glory for the squalor of our fallen world. It is the angel of the Lord, preaching to the shepherds, tending their flocks by night (Lk 2:8) that re-orients us in every generation and culture, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; 11 for today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Lk 2:10–11).’”
Christmas is about a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6). This is the message that needs to be unwrapped everywhere, in every generation. This is especially true, as we are inundated with too much news, and much of it fake news. In contrast, Christmas is good news warranting great joy, from those who hear and believe, by God’s grace (Rom 10:17).
The shepherds are exemplary. They hear the news and go to Bethlehem to meet Jesus. They return to their flocks, praising God. Here is the model response for everyone who hears the Christmas story, especially because we are more privy to the meaning of words like: Savior; Christ; and Lord. When the good news is made known to you, go to Jesus, and then, go bear witness, even to the uttermost part of the world (Acts 1:8).
God is the Savior of Israel (Is 49), which is the church of Jesus Christ (Gal 6:16), comprised of God’s elect people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Eph 1:4–5; Rev 5:9; 7:9). Thus, the news is for all people, and it should not be withheld from even the sworn enemies of the Son of God. Some of them, like Saul of Tarsus, are elect and will be converted by God’s will and powerful grace (Acts 9).
“Savior” is an exalted title, exclusively ascribed to Jesus Christ, our God and Savior (Acts 13:23; Phil 3:20; 1 Tim 1:1; 2 Tim 1:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1; 1:11; 2:20; 3:18). Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). Thus, Christmas and the socialist political agenda are not the same tidings. The way Jesus saves is an offense to most people, who hear the rest of our Lord’s story.
As the sin-bearing Lamb of God (Jn 1:29; 1 Pet 2:24), as pictured in the Old Testament temple sacrifices (Lev 16), there is an atonement with God, by the shed blood of a substitute offering for sin. As Jesus took away the sins of His people around the world and across generations, He is the fulfillment of the Scriptures, regarding the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed.
Jesus Messiah or Jesus the Christ was God’s elect vessel to ransom many, bearing our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). He could only qualify for this role, by being the unblemished Lamb without sin (Ex 12:5; 1 Pet 1:19). It is our sinful flesh that is repulsed by the message of God’s judgment of us (Rom 1:18–32). That we deserve from God, His very wrath poured out on the Son of God, is ludicrous to unregenerate, unbelievers.
To make matters worse for the unbeliever, our correct response to Jesus’ Person and work is total submission. It is the born again who declare without grief or shame, “Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:11)!” This is to the praise and glory of God the Father, who sent His only begotten Son to be Savior, Christ, and Lord of all (Jn 3:16; Acts 10:36).
Friend, consider Christmas again this year. Is your contemplation, the marvel of the birth of a sin-bearing substitute, for the entirety of your sins against Almighty God? This is what Christmas is all about. It is revelation from God, of what He has done to reconcile His chosen people to Himself (Rom 5:10–11; 11:5; 2 Cor 5:18–20).
Christian, sing hallelujah! Rejoice in the reality of mercy from God (Rom 9:15–16); for your sins are forgiven in their entirety (Heb 7:27; 9:12; 10:10; 1 Pet 3:18). Jesus Messiah gave Himself up to death on a cross, to rescue you from slavery to sin, death, and eternal punishment (Mt 25:46; Jude 1:7). Delight this Christmas, in the grace that has caused your humble submission before the Lord of glory. He came for your redemption (Lk 1:68), and He will come for you, again, to take you to His mansion of glory (Jn 14:2–3), for an eternal, holiday, family gathering filled with love, joy, and peace, forever more.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 1, 2022