I can remember my first Christmas believing and trusting and hoping in Jesus Christ. My parents could tell you just how bad I made our Christmases as a family. They were generous but modest. I got a nintendo game. The neighbor kid got twenty. So, I wasn’t spoiled, relatively speaking. But the lure of any material thing was enough to spoil me. And this is because things were my god. In the words of the apostle Paul, I “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
But when Christmas came, when I got whatever thing my heart was locked on, I was terribly let down. My heart was trying to get the kind of pleasure it was made to know in a relationship with something created, rather than the Creator. The year I came to know Christ and the forgiveness of sins through him, I can remember not caring about what I got for Christmas. Material things had become irrelevant to me, not as a matter of will or decision, but as a matter of heart transformation. I only noticed it happened as Christmas approached and mom asked me what I wanted. Every year previous, I was fixed on something mid-summer. That year, I couldn’t think of anything. And the explanation for that is that God had filled my heart with himself in Jesus Christ. I didn’t do that. God did.
The meaning of Christmas is found in the meaning of the incarnation of the Son of God. In space-time history, God became a man and, as John says, “he dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This crying baby, Jesus, was God himself visiting us, and visiting us in order to save us from everything terrible – from sin, death and from hell – from everything I was asking for. He came to show us God’s glory and to bring us to Him. Of this Jesus, John writes,
“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:9-13
He was born, he lived a perfect life God requires of us, and he died the death we deserve, and he was raised from the dead so that we might be raised with him through faith. May we “[see] his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,” and believe in his name this Christmas (John 1:14).
HT: Justin Taylor