Friday, December 23, 2011

What is Christmas all about?


Image Courtesy of The Christmas Station Europe

When asking people what Christmas is all about, you can be sure that there would be a variety of answers. Some would say that it is about family and healing broken relationships, and that can be seen in many Christmas movies. Others would say that it is the season for giving. Of course, both answers are only partially right. These types of answers lack the most important element of Christmas, though. An essential element without which Christmas would have no meaning, in fact, wouldn’t even exist!

You see, Christmas is not essentially about doing nice things and saying nice things per se. Christmas is about Jesus Christ. Without the incarnation of Christ, Him coming in the flesh of a human being, Christmas would be meaningless.

In fact, Christmas is not only about the birth of Christ either. It is way bigger than just the appearance of God on earth. The first Christmas had a purpose in mind. A purpose decreed in eternity past.

“(18)  knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,  (19)  but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  (20)  For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)

Jesus Christ came to earth for the express purpose to die on the cross for sinners.

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:28)

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim 1:15)

Scripture is clear that Christ came to earth not simply to teach us principles for good living, but to actually be put to death in the place of sinners.

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Heb 2:17)

Jesus knew why He came to earth, why He had to take on human flesh. His death on the cross was no surprise to Him.

"(11)  'I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  (12)  'He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  (13)  'He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  (14)  'I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,  (15)  even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  (16)  'I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  (17)  'For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  (18)  'No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.'" (John 10:11-18)

Why did Christ have to come to earth in the flesh? To “make propitiation for the sins of the people.

If our celebration of Christmas ends with the incarnation of Christ, without remembering the purpose of His coming, then our celebration is incomplete! The purpose of Christmas is not only to remind us of His coming, but why He came, to die on the cross “and to give His life a ransom for many.” “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” “to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

So, this year, when you celebrate Christmas, remember that Christmas is not just about a cute, cuddly baby, but that that baby grew up to become the God-man that would lay “down His life for the sheep.

Jesus, fully God and fully man, lay down His life for the sheep that they may have eternal life.

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