What Christmas Means

The Nativity scene, by Renassiance painter Giorgione, 1500 A.D.

No, the meaning of Christmas is not to buy presents or sip egg nog at festive holiday parties. Christmas is (or is meant to be) a time set out each year to honor one thing: the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which took place more than 2,000 years ago in Israel.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem by Mary and Joseph, who traveled to the city for a census and could not even get a room at the inn because it was full, so Jesus had to be born in a manger (Luke 2:7).

Jesus’ birth was not just any special birth. No, he was God himself sent to earth.

Luke 2:8-14 recounts how an angel proclaims Jesus’ birth to a group of Jewish shepherds:

In the same region (Bethlehem) there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, good will toward men.”

This bears repeating. A multitude of angels appeared in the sky, as if stars coming alive into glorious, illuminated beings. And they sang and praised God for His gift of Jesus:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

That is what Christmas is all about. Thanking God for His gift of salvation. For His love.

So when you attend your holiday parties, exchange gifts, or relax during your week off, try to do something to thank God. For you see, Jesus was not just some religious guru, a “don’t-do-this” leader, a man trying to get money or fame- he was a man who continually did all he could to help others, never once with a selfish thought.

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