I have strolled through days of loving Christmas, explored only to discover the dates we use to celebrate are all wrong; I have meandered through the Bible to explore the Hebrew roots and stumbled upon culture and Hanukkah; I have wondered whether to put up a tree or glitter or give gifts and more; I have concluded Christmas marks the birth of GOD’s son, secular festivities, and much much more…
But at the end of the day, I ask myself — and you if you’re willing to ponder: What really matters about Christmas and how can we mark it well?
Why the Nativity?
With a look at the nativity I aim to share with others at this Season, the love, truth, grace, peace and joy that the LORD offers to those who will receive.
GOD is love and He brings love, in the form of His son Yeshua. But He also ensures we have the capacity and opportunity to share love; we have an inbuilt need for love and relationship. He offers Himself and even if we reject Him, He loves us so much He reaches out through others so that no one needs be isolated or alone.
And now, the story of the Nativity is recounted in Luke 2:8-20 as follows,
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marvelled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
What the Nativity shows us
We see fulfilled prophecy in that Isaiah and various other prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah in just the manner in which it is recorded here… Bethlehem will be the Messiah’s place of birth, a virgin will give birth, He will be a son of David — one born of King David’s line. There are hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in this one night (the substance of which is for another post).
We see the mercy of GOD in his love, respect and confidence for the lowly shepherds who were the blessed ones who would be the first to see this Messiah.
We see the wisdom of GOD in His choice of mother, who held the marvellous events in her heart, rather than boast or discuss or proclaim them.
We see the love of GOD for us in giving to us His son, who will be the Saviour of the entire world. Jesus would grow to teach us how to live, so that society moves from barbarism to life, from paganism to profound worship.
We see the truth of GOD in that He is not a respecter of persons, choosing a lowly stable, a modest couple to parent His son, and that babe who would grow to teach us love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self control.
We see the commitment of GOD as He fulfilled His promise to send a Messiah, to stand for the Jewish people and land, to be GOD to those who would call Him GOD.
We see the power of GOD and the presence of GOD in the angels and in the babe Himself.
We see GOD Years later, Jesus would say to us, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9)
So, what really matters about Christmas?
Simply, the birth of Yeshua — Jesus — Emmanuel, GOD with us.
And How can we mark it well?
Stay focused on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The trappings of turkey or gifts, tree and tinsel, these are not Christmas. The carols and cards, the family and friends, these are not Christmas. The spirit of Christmas is not necessarily of GOD, if it removes our gaze from the One and Only who gave up His heavenly authority to be of no account. The spirit of Christmas can be ignored when we look at the Son of GOD — the Son of Man, and linger on his infant beginning. And we mark Christmas well when we allow ourselves to ponder, to embrace and to engage with Him who came for us, and love one another as He has loved us, and as He has commanded us to do,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10:27).
On this hinges everything.