Christmas. The season of joy, love, family, and giving. Considered the happiest season of all. Some places wish others well on this season by saying Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas, and then those who just say Happy Holidays. We see Christmas lights and evergreen trees decked with silver and gold, and other bright colors. We smile when we hear people singing and caroling. A time where families come home to spend time with loved ones. Mistletoe is hung and the Christmas classics such as Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer brings joy to the children. A jolly old man in a big red suit is sitting in the mall asking children what they would like for Christmas. Snowmen and Snow Angels are made outside and stockings are hung above the chimney where the yule log is placed. And children are outside playing with their new toys and mothers admiring their new jewelry and fathers practicing with their new tool set. Gifts are given, being wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper and a ribbon or bow on top. Everyone is merry and having themselves a great time.
Yes this is Christmas. And there is nothing else that defines that celebration. But for Christians, we chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on that day. However, almost everyone agrees that Jesus was not likely born on that day, so without the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, what is Christmas? Just another pagan Holiday. The bible never talks about Christmas, or trees and lights and mistletoe. It talks about the birth of Jesus, but not about Christmas. Mary and Joseph did not have the manger decorated with lights and ornaments. Someone had taken the December 25’s Pagan’s celeration, united it with the birth of Christ to convert pagans to Christianity while allowing them to celebrate their own traditions, this including; the tree, mistletoe, yule logs, gift exchange and etc, and called it Christmas.
So what is Christmas all about? After looking at the origins of the Pagan Holiday, we look at the name of Christmas. The word Christmas means “Christ” “Mass”. And “mass” meaning ‘death by sacrifice’. So really we celebrate the first act of God’s love and plan performed in the new testament. We celebrate God sending His son as a sacrifice. Just like we celebrate Easter by honoring His death (Good Friday) and Resurrection (Easter Sunday). Christmas is all about celebrating the Birth of our Savior who was born to be a sacrifice for our sins. And we celebrate it using the pagan’s traditions with all that we know of as Christmas. Does that mean it is a sin to use the Pagan’s celebrations? No. Christians took something of a sinful nature and used it as a way to preach the gospel, convert sinners, and worship our Lord all at the same time. And is that not what God done to us? To a lowly sinner and used it to do His will. He transformed us just as we did a Pagan Holiday.
But people today only look forward to the celebration and not the reason for it. We look forward to the happiness people feel and the music and the lights. We look forward to lights and decorating the tree. We look forward to giving and bringing smiles and definitely receiving gifts. But we never stop and think about the gift Jesus gave us. Because had it not been for that Pagan Holiday, Christ’s birthday would have been another holiday forgotten. Imagine for a minute that we decided to celebrate it on July 22. There would be no Christmas tree or mistletoe or lights. Just another day like George Washington’s birthday.
The scripture people read on Christmas day, is the story of Christ’s birth in Luke chapter 2. As Linus goes to the middle of the stage holding his blanket he quotes the Christmas Story and says “Thats what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” Though that be true, we forget that its not just about the birth of Jesus. It is much deeper than that. It is the reason Christ was born. His whole purpose to be born was to die. His reason for being was to be nailed to a cross. When that babe in a manger was born, He was born under the shadow of the cross. We can read Luke 2 all we want, but that doesn’t tell us what Christmas is all about. Yeah Jesus was born, but why? Lets look.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23
That is what Christmas is all about. We celebrate the birth of Christ not because He was born. But why He was born. We celebrate Christmas because that was the day that our Savior came to save us! It was the day when God came to us. For years we searched for God and couldn’t reach Him. For ages God wanted His people to be with Him, but instead God came to us! He came to us to save us so we can forever be in His arms. We celebrate Christ’s birth using the traditions of the Pagans, because He was lifted up.
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28
Jesus quoted Isaiah 53:12 when he said: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Jesus, although without sin, was to be counted among sinners. Notice what else is written in Isaiah 53:
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
For the transgression of my people he was stricken…. Though he had done no violence … it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer … the Lord makes his life a guilt offering…. He will bear their iniquities…. He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah describes someone who suffers not for his own sins, but for the sins of others. Let us Celebrate Christmas not just for the birth of Christ, but why He was born. Because that is the true meaning of Christmas!