First, I want to apologize to my blog followers. Things have been hectic the last few weeks, and I have not done a good job keeping up with the blog. I hope to pick it back up more regularly.
Christmas is fast approaching. Stores are busy, Christmas music is playing everywhere, and I have already eaten enough Christmas goodies to last for the season.
In our house, we chose not to tell our children that Santa was real. Our goal was to keep the focus on Christ. But I’m not sure that we have fully succeeded. We still have a Christmas tree with lights. We still watch shows with Santa, much like we might watch Disney characters, understanding they are not real. We have presents under the tree. And I still cannot help but feel that those things pull our focus away from Jesus. So I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the real reason we celebrate this time of year.
The real point of our celebrating Christmas is to remind ourselves of the miracle of the incarnation. That a little over 2,000 years ago, God the Son came down to earth and took on flesh. Without losing His divine nature, Jesus also took on human nature: 100% God and 100% human at the same time. If your mind is spinning trying to comprehend that, then you are getting the point. It is mind boggling. It is a miracle. And it should be the focus of this season.
It gets better when we think about why Christ was “pleased as man with men to dwell,” as stated in “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
One reason why Jesus came was to show us how to live. From the Sermon on the Mount to the parables to His very life, Jesus intended to demonstrate the way to live as followers of God the Father in His kingdom. Jesus told us to, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29, ESV) We are to “learn from [him]” and follow Him. The great commission was not to make converts, but to make disciples, teaching people to obey everything that Christ commanded and taught.
Another reason why Jesus came was to live the life we could not live. In the process of showing us how to live, Christ fulfilled everything we did not and could not because of our flesh and sin. Christ lived the perfect life, without sin. More of this in the next reason.
A third reason why Jesus came was so that He could sympathize with us after living among us as one of us. He was tempted (see Matthew 4), He knew hunger and thirst, He knew betrayal, and He knew emotional turmoil (remember the garden of Gethsemane). Even with all of this, He persevered, never falling into sin. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (ESV) Where we stumble and sin, Christ succeeded. But because He was tempted, He sympathizes with us in our weakness. When we pray to Him, He understands. What an amazing thought!
One last reason why Jesus came (although I’m sure there are others I could write about) was to offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. As a perfect person, He was able to offer Himself up as the sacrifice for our sins so that our relationship with God could be restored. Jesus tells us in Luke 19:10, “‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'” (ESV) Not only did Jesus come to die for us, but He was seeking us in the process. Because He died in our place, we can become righteous in Him! We didn’t have to beg God to die for us. He initiated the process. This should humble us and overwhelm us with gratitude!
So as you are making whatever preparations you have left for Christmas, as you are singing carols, watching movies, making cookies, and keeping whatever family traditions you may have, be sure to reflect on what Christmas means. Remember the incarnation. Remember the miracle. And keep it central.
God bless you this Christmas!