The day after Thanksgiving is the unofficial start to the Christmas season. There is Black Friday shopping, Christmas music, trees, lights, decorations, Santa, presents, vacations, snow, etc., etc., etc. And to be perfectly honest, as a Christian, I am perfectly fine with all of this stuff. As a matter of fact, I actually enjoy it! I love getting to see my family, exchanging gifts, and taking in all the holiday festivities. Of course, many of my fellow Christians are always quick to remind everyone that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. And I agree….mostly. Sure we chose December 25 to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But in reality he was most likely born in late spring-early summer. December 25 was actually a pagan holiday that the early Catholic church adopted for the purpose of celebrating the birth of Christ. But enough of the history lesson. The point is that we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25 and I have been wondering if we as Christians don’t do enough justice to the fact that God sent His only Son to dwell among sinful human beings.
You see, Christians are always quick to remind everyone that Christmas is about the birth of the Savior. But the way I see it, we fall woefully short of giving a biblical account of the “reason for the season”. We go to church or gather round with family and friends and read passages from Matthew or Luke and focus in on the birth of Christ (and rightly so). But there is so much more that Scripture tells us about Christ coming to earth. There is so much more to it than Jesus being born in a manger, than the wise men and shepherds coming to see Him, or that it was in Bethlehem. I believe one of the great “Christmas” passages in Scripture is actually not even found in the four Gospels. It is found in Philippians 2 -
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus, being One of the Holy Trinity, emptied Himself of His godly privileges and took the form of a man. The passage states that Christ did not find equality with God something to be grasped, but instead emptied Himself in order to take the form of a servant. Being that He took the form of a servant, He was obedient to the purpose for which He came to earth – to die on the cross for our sins. This encompasses all that it means to follow the Way. That is the so-called reason for the season. Jesus Christ set aside His rights as Creator of the universe and sovereign King to come to earth to redeem sinful human beings. It is awe inspiring to think that He became one of us for the sole purpose of taking our punishment. He died so we could live. And when we look at the context of this passage, it exhorts us as believers to have His mindset. We have been commissioned and empowered to follow in the footsteps of Christ. During the Christmas season, we get a glimpse of the goodwill of mankind. But it is only because of Christ giving up His rights in order to save us, that we are able to truly spread goodwill toward men. My challenge to myself is to not make Christmas merely about Jesus as “the reason for the season”, but to proclaim that not only was a child born, a Savior was born, a Savior that we all desperately need. GOD WITH US