Every year, I do it. Every year I commit that NEXT year I will spend the entire month of December thinking about Christmas. The real Christmas. The Christmas which celebrates the wonderful story of God becoming flesh and dwelling amoung us. The babe in swaddling clothing and all that stuff.
Every year I get all the way to Christmas Day before I read “the Christmas story” of the Gospel of Luke. This year, I was determined that this year would be different. So today I escaped to a local coffee house to simply read and think about this awesome, earth shattering event of Christmas. The real Christmas.
Here is what I have found as I read Luke 1&2 today. . . I can sum up this wonderful story in five words. There are five words surrounding the birth of Christ of which I will now be meditating upon these next 10 days of Christmas.
So here they are. . . the Christmas story in 5 words:
The Christmas story is about JESUS
I start with the obvious. I love how the “Christmas story” starts with the naming of the child, “Jesus” (Luke 1:31-33).
The angel Gabriel comes to Mary, settles her down, and immediately shows her this thing is not about her. This birth is the Son of God. Mary and Joseph will not name the child, but rather God Himself will.
This is a great reminder going into this often chaotic, fast paced holiday. . . Christmas is about JESUS.
The Christmas story is about a MIRACLE of God
God comes to man in the form of a child. . . what?!?!?! Pause a minute and actually think about the implications. I really do believe this. I really do believe that Jesus was and is God. I really do believe He was born, miraculously, through a virgin.
The miracle of the birth of Jesus proves much, but foremost is the reality that “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) No matter what.
The same God of the universe who condescended to the point of becoming a child in a dirty, dank manger is the same God who saved and lives within me.
Christmas is a powerful reminder that God is both personal and capable of the miraculous; both in my life and in the world around me.
The Christmas story is about COMMUNITY
Embedded within the Christmas story is the Biblical value of and draw towards community. Upon the birth of Jesus, others were IMMEDIATELY pulled into the story. Immediately.
The birth of Jesus would have been just as wonderful without the presence of others, but God, in His infinite wisdom and pleasure, included the shepherds (Luke 2:8-11).
Whether you are close to your family or not (like me) during this holiday, Christmas calls us back to the reality that we are called into a community. The Christmas story is an example that we are called to be one family IN Christ to marvel AT Christ.
Therefore, the Christmas story calls us back towards COMMUNITY, as we worship God incarnate together, as one body of Christ.
The Christmas story is about ACTION
The first response of the shepherds upon hearing about Jesus’ birth. . . “let us go” (Luke 2:15-16).
The shepherds were moved to action. They immediately left what they were doing and went to see Jesus. The disciples IMMEDIATELY left all to follow Him. Even the authorities, IMMEDIATLEY took action by opposing and seeking to kill Jesus.
We see in the Christmas story a call to action. The birth of Jesus was a proactive action by God to seek and save the lost. Shall my reaction to Christ be passive?
Just as the birth of Christ called for the action of obedience of those around Him, this is still the case for us His followers. In the Christmas story I am tangibly reminded of this. . . Christmas is about ACTION.
The Christmas story is about JOY
Jesus was the LONG AWAITED Messiah. He was/is the Savior of the World. . . this truly is “good news of great joy”! All of prior history pointed to His birth, the birth of the Messiah. All of history since points back to Jesus’ miraculous birth, life, and salvific death.
Christmas is about many things, but none more important than the mere JOY, CELEBRATION, and WORSHIP of our Savior and friend, Christ Jesus.
My good friend, Boone Benton, used to actually get a birthday cake with “Happy Birthday Jesus!” inscribed on top. Boone was hilarious talking about how awkward it was ordering the cakes from local bakeries. . . “Yes, you heard me correctly; ‘Happy birthday JESUS’ and yes, I will pick that up on Christmas Eve.” Though the baker was inevitably worried about the sanity of their client, Boone did this to both augment my first point (Christmas is about JESUS) and to point towards the joy and celebration which is Christmas.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. . . (Luke 2:20)
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Savior and friend, Christ Jesus. This is plain and simple, but earth shatteringly wonderful!
(For my thoughts on Christmas last year, please CLICK HERE.)