Friday, December 3, 2010

Importance of Christmas

What’s the big deal about Christmas? For Christians, Christmas celebrates one of the most important events in the history of the world, so they shouldn’t take it lightly. We should not let the significance of the holiday become overshadowed by all the commercialism, sentimentality, and secular aspects of the season.

I just made what some may consider a rather radical statement, that Christmas commemorates one of the most important events in history. Let’s think about that for a minute. What makes that first Christmas so momentous?

The God who created the universe, who is all-powerful, and who is majestic beyond our wildest imagination, did something radical and unheard of. The highly paraphrased version of the Bible called The Message puts it this way (Philippians 2:5-8a):

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of him-self that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an in-credibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death. (by Eugene H. Peterson)

We read in the majestic words of the first chapter of the Gospel according to John (John 1:14):

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. NIV

If that wasn’t significant enough, Jesus came to earth to give the entire human race the opportunity to get back into right relationship with God (to become children of God once more). This could not have happened if Jesus hadn’t been born of a woman for the ultimate purpose of paying the penalty for our wrongdoing. Again we read in John’s Gospel (John 1:12-13):

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. NIV

That’s pretty significant, don’t you think? Without that birth 2,000 years ago, there would have been no debt payment on the cross, and of course there wouldn’t have been the glorious Resurrection on that first Easter. While the sentimental, family, and goodwill aspects of the season are nice, we Christians mustn’t lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

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