It is funny and sad that a holiday centered around Christ has evolved into an entire “season” that ends up pushing Christ as far out of the picture as possible by the secular world. This is nothing new, but likewise it is always a good idea to remember the true meaning of Christmas (que Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas special).
For today’s post, I’ll borrow some text from the Internet Monk blog.
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:22,23)
“With” appears again, this time as the Greek word ‘meta,’ meaning “in common with.” That the Maker of the heavens and earth put aside his glory and dwelt among us sharing in common our vulnerable humanity is astounding. What he communicated in doing so is more astounding. God is with us. God is with man. God dwells among us. He wore the same human flesh that hungered and tired and suffered. Yet, he wore it without sin. The same flesh bled and died under the wrath of his Father to make us sons – because he loved us.
We celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice and defeat of death on Easter but Christmas is a little different. On Christmas we celebrate the fact that God came to Earth in the first place. To wit, without Christmas, there is no Easter.
The impact here is enormous and too far-reaching to cover in one post. But here are some scattered thoughts.
- God set all this up in the very beginning – he’s never been without a plan. He’s in control always.
- Grace and justice blend so beautifully in Christ. He’s the perfect sacrifice so he fulfills the law, but he takes our place so he shows us grace. Amazing.
- The Lord could always do everything, so it isn’t like he “needed” to come to Earth to sympathize with our mortal struggles. I think he did it so we would know that he knows. For our benefit he reminds us that whatever struggles we face, he’s been there and done that even though he never had to.
- The first shall be last – how better to exemplify humility than by entering the world as a God that needs to have his diaper changed? That will never be topped.
- The gifts that we give each other are not necessarily because the wise men brought gifts to Jesus. I think they are supposed to represent the greatest gift of all – Jesus himself.
- The fact that Christmas has evolved into a family-centric holiday is wonderful. To me that shows a correlation between the Father sending his Son to be with his children (us).