Updated: Dec 19, 2020
How many Christmas specials have you watched this season? With pandemic precautions and three kiddos at home, we’ve been watching a little more than usual! Chances are, you’re familiar with the typical Christmas movie storyline - it starts with a character who has lost the Christmas spirit. They are greedy or lonely or a workaholic, and by the end of the show they have discovered the true meaning of Christmas. Usually the “true” meaning of Christmas in these movies is something about being with family and the ones you love or how it’s better to give than receive. Don’t get me wrong, these things are good, but the TRUE meaning of Christmas is more than just a moral at the end of a story.
The true, and only, meaning of Christmas is that Jesus Christ was born. Christmas is about celebrating a God who loves us so much that he came to earth as a tiny, dependent baby. He started his life as a human in a feeding box for barn animals and grew up to fulfill every law and promise of the Old Testament. He was rejected and accused and put on a tree to be murdered. Being fully God, he could have saved himself but instead allowed his death so that he could bear the penalty for our sins. When he took his last breath, the veil in the temple was torn and there was no longer a separation between us and God the Father. Three days later he rose from the grave, conquering death and sin and all the brokenness in the world. He sent his Spirit to dwell within all who believe in him and he promises eternal life with him for all who call on his name. He will come back one day to gather his flock and create a new heaven and earth where we will live with him forever.
You may be thinking, “that’s not the Christmas story, that’s Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Revelation all bundled together!” Make no mistake, the Christmas story does not end with a baby in a manger. Christ came to this earth to die, it was part of God’s plan even while Jesus was a single cell in Mary’s womb. Every teaching, every town visited, every disciple made, it was all part of God’s plan.
If you are on social media you have likely seen a birthday post for someones kids, spouse, sibling or good friend. On my kids’ birthdays I make a sappy birthday post that includes baby pictures and pictures from various stages of their lives. I reflect on who they were, what they have accomplished and who they will become. In the same way, I encourage you to study, talk about and celebrate every part of Jesus’ life and death this Christmas. We are blessed that we get to see more of the story, don't cut it short!