Christmas means many things to many people and sadly, to many people, it’s just a holiday for gifts, food, fun and day off of work.
Drive around several neighborhoods and look at the displays in many yards. They have Santa Claus and sleigh, snowmen, Disney characters and even polar bears and penguins. Some people have displays of Grinch, made famous by a socialist who wrote books to subtly indoctrinate kids with socialist ideologies.
There are many nativities portraying the baby Jesus lying in the manger, but so often there are so many secular displays alongside that it destroys the message of the nativity. I have a neighbor who use to display one of those fan driven nativities, but now there is a display of snowmen instead.
For many Christians, Christmas holds pretty much the same meaning as millions of secular non-Christians.
Over the years, I’ve had occasion to ask Christians what Christmas is really about and 95% of the time, they say it’s about the birth of Jesus and that’s pretty much it.
Okay, I’ll give them some leeway, but even that, the vast majority of Christians seem to be completely clueless as to what Christmas is really about.
I’ve shared this with a number of Christians over the years and most are shocked by what I have to say and admit they never thought of it. I brashly reply that this is why Christianity has become so weak and easily compromised with the secular world. I know that doesn’t make friends, but when it comes to the reality of Scripture, I don’t like to dance around.
So, what is the real meaning of Christmas? I tell people that it’s the first step towards the crucifixion and our eternal salvation.
It starts in Genesis 3, not Matthew 1. After Adam sinned, God said: Genesis 3:14-15.
The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
Notice in the next to last line, God said HE shall bruise your head. God was referring to Jesus, who would eventually dome to earth in human form, live a perfect life and then pay the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for all of our sins. In doing so, Jesus defeats death and Satan – the Serpent.
It was more than just Jesus being born. Imagine that you created something small and insignificant, but then realizing the only way to save your creation, you have to humble yourself and become part of the creation in the most helpless form, still with all of your knowledge and understanding of what you created.
Not only that, but then you have to live a blameless, spotless life in that creation. When those around you want to harm or kill you, you have all of the power and knowledge to do away with them, but instead, you allow their abuse to be heaped upon you.
As they lay on down on a rough wooden cross and began to drive large iron spikes through your hands or wrist and then through your feet or ankles, experiencing the intense pain, knowing you can avoid it all by just a thought or breath and roles would be reversed, but no, you endure it because you love and want to save your creation.
As you and the cross are raised, your weight falls on your hands/wrists that are screaming in pain. With each breath, your chest muscles weaken, allowing less and less air to enter your lungs. Hours before you die, your lungs begin to burn from the lack of oxygen as you slowly suffocate, all the while knowing you could stop it and stop the pain and even punish those who are killing and mocking you, but love your creation and so you endure, until you give up your last breath.
That’s what Christmas is about. Jesus didn’t come to earth as baby so people could spend more money than they have or so that they could stuff themselves with food and goodies. Jesus birth has ONE purpose and that was to take the first step towards the cross and He did it because he loves his creation and knew it was the ONLY way to save it from eternal damnation, which is the natural result of Adam’s sin.
As you look at images of the baby Jesus and sing songs about Him lying in a manger, I hope you see the cross, standing in the background.
by David Jolly