Christmas is more than a holiday, for it begins not with what we do in celebrating it, but with what God had done which calls for our celebration, and that is - God's not only extending but demonstrating his lovingkindness and mercies toward us through the giving of His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior and redeemer. Christmas celebrates the incarnation and birth of our Savior into the world not only marking a new age in the history of mankind but revealing the person and plan of God in bringing about a new relationship between God and man. Christmas has meaning and significance both for the people of God and for individual believers as well as for those not a part of God's church. For the church and believers, Christmas is a celebration of God's covenant faithfulness and providence, of God's wisdom and commitment to meeting our needs, of his perfect and necessary grace, of his indescribable gift in the person of his only begotten Son, and of his intention and actions in fulfilling all righteousness and requirements in providing for our redemption and salvation. While all that Christ would do was not revealed in his birth, his person and nature was, along with his uniqueness and his fulfillment of past prophesies which carried with them the hope of things later to be fulfilled. It is in both looking to the whole of his life and seeing the significance of his beginning that leads us to marvel and to worship God not only in the person of Jesus himself, but in all that God has done for us and for our salvation! For unbelievers, the significance of Christmas is found in the fact that hope is held out to them in the places of their hopelessness which otherwise cannot be resolved; whether it's due to the dominion of sin in their lives, to the depravity they find in their being and faculties, to the knowledge and sense they have of accountability, to the guilt they cannot get rid of, or to the penalty which we all as sinners deserve. So, for all, whether believers or unbelievers, Christmas holds great meaning and significance! .
What might you do at this time of year?
1. Christmas provides a great opportunity not only for spending time with friends and family, but reflecting on the historical and soteriological purpose of Christ's birth and life. This is accomplished by meditation upon the narratives of Christ's birth as found in the gospels as well as the prophesies and interpretation of his birth found in other portions of Scripture.
2. Christmas provides a unique opportunity to gather and worship with God's people in the sense that on one level Christ came first for us as a people united in his body, and second to us as individuals who form a part of his body. This suggests not only the priority we should give to the corporate participation and worship as a body, but also to the importance of individual reflection and worship.
3. Christmas provides a unique opportunity to sense and delight in God love as well as to reflect upon our own sacrifice and service in light of Christ's, but of course remembering the distinction that only his was meritorious while ours serve as a response to his grace.