Over the past two years, our faith has been tested. Families are wrestling with the loss of their loved ones. Millions of people have lost their jobs. And, as a nation, we are seeing an increase in feelings of anxiety and isolation. This season of uncertainty and turmoil is the perfect time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
Although 90% of Americans say that they celebrate Christmas, more than half of Americans do not celebrate it as a religious holiday. Have we forgotten the true meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is more than lights on our houses or presents from Santa; it is a reminder of the extraordinary gift we were given through the birth of Christ. It’s a testament to God’s redemption and love for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The Christmas story is the fulfillment of God’s promise through the birth of Jesus. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The name Immanuel means “God with us.” In the season we are in as a nation, this is a great reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Despite all the challenges we might encounter, God is with us.
The Christmas story offers us redemption. A Greek form of the Hebrew word “Yeshua,” Jesus means “the Lord saves.” We read this in Matthew 1:21, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”
What’s remarkable is that God loved us enough to send his son to earth and to die for our sins. Jesus’ life wasn’t easy. His death on the cross was excruciating. Yet, he endured it so our deaths on earth would not be final. We have the promise of heaven.
The Christmas story offers us hope. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
Of all the gifts we receive this Christmas – this is the most crucial gift. Through faith in Jesus, we can accept this gift. As Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In a season where Baby Yoda is replacing a star on the top of a Christmas tree, it’s easy to get swept up in the newest trends and marketing ploys and forget why we celebrated Christmas in the first place. When you gather with your families, whether it’s virtually or in person, take a moment to read through the story of the birth of Christ. But, don’t just stop there. Read a few verses about God’s redeeming love and the gift of salvation through Christ.
Although this might be a challenging moment in history, we have the opportunity to bring light into a gloomy world. How can you share the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season?