What Christmas Is All About

Bible Book: Luke  2
Subject: Christmas, Meaning of; Birth of Jesus; Gift of God

What Christmas Is All About

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

Luke 2

A little child saying his prayers one Christmas eve suddenly looked up, and with a gurgle of laughter exclaimed, "I almost wished God a Merry Christmas" HIs mother replied, "'I'm sure He would have smiled."

Indeed, God meant for the arrival of His Son to bring joy to the world. After all, that is what the angels sang. For Christmas to bring the joy and merriment God intended, we need to know what Christmas is all about.

Let's consider four elements of Christmas that are important to God and should be important to us.

I. Christmas Is About Family

The first Christmas centered around a family, for we see here in the event that there was Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. It is interesting that the Savior came into this world much the same way you and I came into it. Oh, I know there were plenty of differences. Mary was a virgin when Christ was born. There were no angels singing when you or I came upon the earthly scene, at least none that anyone could hear. And Jesus was a unique, one-of-a-kind child. Yet, He was conceived, carried in His mother's womb for nine months, and delivered the old-fashioned way. After all, God could have sent His Son into the world as a child of three, five or even twelve years of age if He had wished to do so. Or, Jesus could have just showed up one day on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to be baptized of John at age thirty. But God chose a plan that brought His Son into the world as a baby and one that placed him in a loving family.

A. The Worth of the Unborn Child

There are great lessons here for us. Here we see the worth of an unborn child. Here we see the importance God places on moms, dads and children. In this story we see something the value God places on parents nurturing, loving and guiding little ones. We must never take family for granted, and certainly we need to return to the idea that every child, even in a mother's womb, is important to God and to us.

B. The World God Entered

We learn from the beginning of Jesus' earthly life that he was to experience all the phases of life that humans experience. I mean, he was a baby, a toddler, a child, a teenager and an adult. We cannot say that Christ doesn't understand us, for He came into this world and experienced it - often He experienced it in very difficult and painful ways. He was tempted, we are told in scripture, in every that we are tmepted yet he was without sin. We are also told that He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.

You see, Christmas speaks to us of God's desire to identify with us in every aspect of life. He knows where you are right now and what you are going through. He came to walk this earth and to prove His love for each of us.

C. The Wonder of Family

It is so fitting that Christmas is viewed as a time for family, for that is how the first Christmas started on that starry night long ago. No wonder the songwriter penned the words, "I'll be home for Christmas." Another wrote, "There's no place like home for the holidays." Yes, Christmas is a time for family.

In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were successful in getting their "flying machine" off the ground. Thrilled at the event they telegraphed this message to their sister Katherine (Now listen closely to what they wrote): "We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas." Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, "How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas." He totally missed the big news - man had flown for the first time. What he noticed was that the boys would be home with the family for Christmas.

Some things are more important than our work and family is certainly one of those. In fact, because of the Wright brothers, thousands of people will be able to fly home to see their family members during the holidays. One of the most important uses for planes is that of getting home for Christmas.

The birth of Christ involves many great lessons, but one of them is that God puts a priority on families. He is concerned for and cares about families. He wants every unborn child to have the opportunity at life. We should not be surprised that after all these centuries that family is still a central focus at the time we are celebrating the birth of the Son of God.

II. Christmas Is About Friends

Mary and Joseph had their new baby, and they had the promise of God in their hearts, but it still must have been a lonely night long ago when they laid that baby in the manger far from their home in Nazareth. Surely they must have wanted their nearest friends to share the event with them. Since so many people were travelling to Bethlehem to register for taxation, it is likely that some friends may have actually been there. The Bible simply does not tell us, but God made sure they had some friends.

Angels appeared in the heavens overlooking Bethlehem's fields and began to share the message of the wonderful birth of the Savior with humble shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks by night. When they heard the news, they rushed to see this thing which had come to pass. Suddenly, Mary and Joseph had a host of new friends with whom to share the first Christmas.

Fitting isn't it, that Christmas is a time to express our kindness to old friends we have known for years, and new friends we have recently made. In fact, Christmas is often the time when we are friendlier to strangers than ever before. Mary and Joseph did not know the shepherds who came but I would suggest that they were thrilled to have some company on that lonely, cold night long ago.

Christmas ought to be a time for friends, for it is the time when God sent the One who is called the Friend closer than a brother. Jesus was called in His lifetime, the Friend of Sinners.

Indeed, Christmas is a time for friends. One of the evidences of this is the abundance of Christmas cards that are mailed from one friend to another every year at Christmastime.

"The original Christmas card is thought to have been sent by a British army officer named Dobson in 1844. The first commercially produced Christmas cards were sold in England by Sir Henry Cole and J.C. Horsley in 1846. Those first cards outraged Christians because they portrayed a group of people drinking. It was at least 25 years before Christmas cards were widely used. Since then, cards have become a major industry. Each year Americans alone spend nearly one billion dollars on Christmas cards, not counting postage." [The Miracle of Christmas by John MacArthur. Zondervan, 1989, 1993.]

God sent more than a Christmas card, He sent His only Son!

III. Christmas Is About Finances

That first Christmas involved an order for everyone to be registered so they could pay a proper tax to the Roman government. How would you like to have all the money paid in sales taxes in our county during the month of December alone? That would be a tidy sum. For Christmas is a time for spending.

The Wise Men came bearing gifts. They brought a couple items which were simple and one which was precious. Their gifts spoke of who Jesus really is.

Gold - Gold is the gift for a King.

Frankincense - Frankincense is the gift for a Priest.

Myrrh - Myrrh is the gift for a Sufferer.

Jesus is the King of Glory, who came to be our High Priest, and He came to suffer in our place. In fact, the greatest gift at that first Christmas was not what people brought to Jesus, but what Jesus brought to us. He was in fact the gift wrapped in strips of cloth. He was God's unspeakable gift.

Many gifts will be shared this Christmas. some of them costing thousands of dollars and others mere pennies. Amost evey gift given comes from the heart of the giver, but all of them combined the world over cannot compare to the most costly gift of all - the gift which God gave to us - His one and only Son!

It is important for us to remember the costliness of the gift God gave when He gave His only Son for our salvation. We should remember this by recommitting our lives to Him and His cause. This would certainly involves our finances. Each of us should look at our finances and be sure that God is first in the use of our money. His tithe and our offerings ought to reveal our total commitment to Him who gave Himself for us. Our gifts to missions and missionaries who that spread the message of God's dear Son should be a priority in our lives as well during the Christmas season.

Now, let's look at one more thing we can say ...

IV. Christmas Is About Faith

Mostly, Christmas is a time of Faith. It is a time of believing. Mary heard the angel tell her that she would have a child by the Holy Spirit and she had faith - she believed.

Joseph was told by an angel that he should not fear to take Mary as his wife, that the child she would have was from the Lord. Joseph had faith - he believed.

The Shepherds heard the angels and believed. The Wise Men saw the star and believed. Think of all the joy that was produced by faith. They believed, they saw, they experienced.

Christmas joy is the result of faith in what God has said and done. Herod did not believe, nor did the Pharisees, Teachers of the Law and Sadducees. They were all very sad. Christmas held no joy for them. Why? They lacked faith.

Christmas joy comes from faith in what God has said and done! Do you believe. Joy and peace are yours in direct proportion to your faith - to your depth of faith.


Interesting, isn't it? Christmas is about family, friends, finances and faith. But on that first Christmas long ago, there was one person in the story who was far from home. It was the baby in the manger. You see, when a baby is born into this world, we think of him as being at home.

This is His world and this is the place for a little baby. But be assured of this - baby Jesus was not of this world. In fact, He left home to come here our behalf.

Jesus became one of us so we could become one with Him.

The Son of God became a Son of Man that the sons of men might become the Sons of God.

He entered our world on earth so that we might have a chance to enter His world in heaven.

No wonder the songwriter wrote, "Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

John Duckworth remembers one snowy night when he was a boy growing up in rural Washington state. A handful of church folks had gathered to go Christmas caroling. Instead of walking around the neighborhood, they all climbed onto a flatbed trailer, and a tractor pulled them from farmhouse to farmhouse.

Everything was fine until after singing at one place, they circled around the house to leave. At the back of the house, lying across the moonlit snow was a downed power line. John was old enough to know that it could be deadly. The men talked about it and decided that the insulation of the trailer   tires would keep anyone from being shocked. So they proceeded to drive across the power line.

John, however, thought they would all be killed if they did that. Just then the group started to sing

"Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;

now ye need not fear the grave..."

But John was too scared to even listen to the words, much less sing them. He pulled on his mother's coat and cried, "We've got to get out of here." His mother explained to him why it was all right, but as he stared down at that power line, he just knew they were all going to die.

No one was electrocuted that night. The men were right, and so was the carol:

"God rest ye merry, gentlemen,

Let nothing you dismay,

Remember Christ our Savior

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan's power

When we were gone astray;

O tidings of comfort and joy." [Duckworth story from "Power for Living," Dec 10, 1995. Page 8.]

Now is the time for every Christian to recommit his or her life to the One who left heaven so that we might have the opportunity to be in heaven with Him one day. And, it is surely the best time in the world for a person without salvation to accept God's gift - His Son - Jesus!