As usual, every year when Christmas rolls around, I'm caught off-guard by how busy the season is. I forget that I always wait too long to get my Christmas shopping done. I forget how quickly my calendar gets booked with Christmas parties and events (all fun things, of course, but hectic, especially now that we have to plan ahead for a babysitter!). I forget the stress of trying to work out travel dates and plans with both of our families for the holidays (thankfully, we treasure time with all of them, so the stress lies more in the planning for how we can make it possible to see everyone!).
What I forget, more than anything, is the real meaning of Christmas.
Don't get me wrong, when December approaches, I try to get in the mood by turning on classical Christmas music. I try to bake more. I try to enjoy warm, fun drinks, like spiced tea or mocha peppermint lattes from Starbucks. I try to enjoy the process of putting up Christmas decorations and wrapping presents. I try to watch my favorite Christmas shows, like the claymation version of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Reindeer (I know, I need to enjoy the classics, but I just LOVE the animated claymation movies!).
Yet all of these things only give a hint of why we celebrate this season.
I've begun to realize that the best way I can reflect on the meaning of Christmas is by spending time in God's word. Through meditation, reflection and prayer, I can ask the Lord to remind me of what the precious gift of His Son really means to all of humanity.
Normally, I go to typical Christmas passages, like Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Or I read the Christmas story from one of the gospels, which begins: "She shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."
But this year, God led me to less traditional Christmas passages, that didn't focus on HOW Jesus was born, but WHY Jesus was born.
Colossians 1:13 says, "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:21-22 says, "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation."
So WHY was Jesus born?
To RESCUE us from the dominion of darkness. To RECONCILE us to God. TO REDEEM us. To FORGIVE us.
WHY was this necessary?
Because we were ALIENATED from God. We were living in the dominion of DARKNESS. We were ENEMIES of God because of our minds and our EVIL behavior.
What do we receive in return for His payment on the cross?
We are HOLY in his sight. WITHOUT blemish. FREE from accusation.
Now THIS is the true reason to celebrate Christmas.
I pray that this Christmas, we would look beyond the gifts, beyond the lights, beyond the decorations and baked goods and parties and shopping and families. I pray that we would reflect on the fact that there is NOTHING greater than celebrating the birth of Our Savior, who came to earth to REDEEM us, to RECONCILE us, and to FORGIVE us, so that we can be presented HOLY, WITHOUT blemish, and FREE from accusation. What a truly wonderful reason to celebrate!