Much of this season is characterized by the songs that we sing. Ever since the day after Halloween, department stores, coffee shops and many other public places have been readying us for the Christmas season. You’d be hard-pressed not to have heard on several occasions the past month or two these words:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year/With the kids jingle belling/And everyone telling you be of good cheer/It’s the most wonderful time of the year/There’ll be parties for hosting/Marshmallows for toasting/And caroling out in the snow/There’ll be scary ghost stories/And tales of the glories of the/Christmases long, long ago… – “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”
What our ears have been trained to believe is that Christmas is supposed to be about family and fellowship, the giving and receiving of gifts, good food and good music, and of course celebrating the birth of baby Jesus. These are not inherently bad things, but the temptation for the believer is to get swept away by all of the incidental aspects of Christmas and neglect to embrace the full meaning of what we’ve come to celebrate. If we pause long of enough, we’d find that the true meaning has been right before us for many many years in two places: 1) The hymns of old and 2) the Scriptures which never grow old. If we pause long enough, we’ll realize that Christmas has everything to do with the Gospel and Christmas has everything to do with Easter. Though it’s hailed as the most wonderful time of the year, the circumstances surrounding its existence are not so wonderful. Do these words sound familiar?
- Long lay the world in sin and error pining (or longing for something/someone)/Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth – “O Holy Night”
- Hark! The herald angels sing,/“Glory to the newborn King;/Peace on earth, and mercy mild,/God and sinners reconciled!”/Mild He lays His glory by,/Born that man no more may die;/Born to raise the sons of earth,/Born to give them second birth. – “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
- Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,/Born to set Thy people free;/From our fears and sins release us,/Let us find our rest in Thee./Israel’s Strength and Consolation,/Hope of all the earth Thou art;/Dear Desire of every nation,/Joy of every longing heart. – “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”
What these songs and many more like them have in common is that Christmas exists because the people of earth were are steeped in sin and in desperate need of rescuing from the wrath of God and to be reconciled back to God, to be rescued from the bondage of sin and death, and needing new life. Jesus was born, therefore, in order that we can be born-again.
But we don’t stop there, we also look foremost to Scripture which plainly reveals the true meaning of Christmas. Let me share some unfamiliar passages as I close:
- “…he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” – Hebrews 2:14-15
- “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” – 1 John 3:8
- “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” – 1 Tim 1:15
- “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46
- “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:17
This Christmas, don’t miss the point. Don’t miss Jesus. Take this time to tell the story of Jesus:
Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell of the years of His labor, Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted, Homeless, rejected and poor.
Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again.
Tell how He’s gone back to heaven, Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding, While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit, He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory, For all the saints of His love. – “Tell Me the Story of Jesus”