Christmas may have come and gone for this year, but let's not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas as we move forward into a new year. The year that we start today, 2017, surely brings with it a new set of blessings and challenges and we must walk in the Spirit and live out our identity in Christ if we are to be prepared daily for what is to come.
Christmas has been turned for the most part into a huge commercialized machine turning out huge profits and great gains in economic indicators, and not all of this is bad. There are certainly some good things to come from the giving and receiving of gifts, and there it is a healthy thing to have a thriving economy. However, I don't want us to ever lose sight of the real reason for not only the Christmas holiday, but for the entire Christmas season that really kicks off at Thanksgiving and ends today on New Year's Day.
To find the real reason for Christmas we turn to the Scriptures. Much is made and rightly so that Christmas is about the birthday of Jesus. This is certainly true and don't for a second think that I am going to attempt to say that it is about anything else. What I want to do is take to a couple levels deeper. For me, it is not enough to simply say it is about Jesus' birthday. We must dig deeper.
What does His birthday represent? What does His coming to earth mean for us? Why all the fuss over one single baby? Why does His birth mean enough to make a whole holiday to celebrate it?
The answer can be found in the first chapter of the book of John.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
The child that was born on that first Christmas night, was no ordinary child. It was in fact a real child, real flesh and blood, but there was something different about this child. This child was God eternal in human flesh. The first 5 verses of the book of John make it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is in fact God Almighty from all of eternity. He not only is God, but He has always been God and will continue to be God throughout all eternity.
So this child is not only 100% man, but is also 100% God. The God-man. The only begotten from the Father, the only begotten God in human flesh. The NASB translates in verse 18 correctly when it uses the term "only begotten God" for this child was God Almighty adding human flesh to His deity.
You see the reason Christmas is so important is because it is the first time in human history that the God of the universe came to be one of us. It is the first time that God pitched His tent with the humanity that He alone created. For we see in the book of John that if it were not for Christ who is the creator of the universe, then nothing that exists would exist for He created it all.
Christmas is vitally important because it is when we celebrate the incarnation of God. This is the theological term for everything I have already described. The incarnation represents God perfectly explained or manifested in human flesh in that God Himself became a man.
This is important for a variety of reasons but primarily it is vitally important because without the incarnation, salvation is an impossibility. Without God coming to die and pay the penalty for sin then no flesh could be saved because there is none righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10).
So in this season of Christmas and now entering a new year, keep in mind the great truth that the season represents; that God Himself came in the form of a man without ceasing to be God at any point, and was the perfect, sinless sacrifice for the sins of those who will place their faith in Christ.