Ah, Christmas! The time of year when the birth of the Messiah Jesus is celebrated all over the world. Oh, you can pretend it’s about Santa, gifts, love, family, whatever. But the reality is we are in the midst of a birthday celebration – the birth that changed the world.
Christmas marks the day when God made Himself a little lower than angels, when our Creator put on flesh and blood and began life as a human so that He could die for His creation.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tested, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (2:14-18)
That was God’s plan from the beginning. And the birth of Jesus sets God’s plan in motion. That’s what we are celebrating this time of year.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, then, to fix our thoughts on Jesus. Don’t harden your hearts against the Truth, he says. And the Truth is: Christ the Savior is born! The baby whose birthday we celebrate was born for you. Believing in Jesus, accepting what He did for you ushers you into His rest.
So here’s my 2019 Christmas story: I’ve been in knots the last two days. I’ve ordered gifts for my five great-nephews, and they still haven’t been delivered (almost a week past the promised delivery date). When I finally got hold of the company, I was told the gifts aren’t even out of the facility yet – IN CHINA! Because the only communication I have with them is email, I’m having trouble cancelling that order. Grrrr.
So I went on Amazon, and ordered five similar gifts all with the estimate delivery dates of December 23-24. I know, I’m cutting it close. But then last night I got an email saying two of the gifts won’t be delivered until the 29th. I can feel my blood pressure rising just typing this latest snag.
I share this to confess to you my thoughts have not been on Jesus. I’m obsessing about gifts the boys will probably enjoy for about ten minutes before they move on to something else, because all of them have more toys than they could ever use in a day. They certainly don’t NEED another toy.
Yet my thoughts have been on the toys. I couldn’t sleep last night worrying about it, picturing those sweet children not having anything to open from Aunt Connie. Then this morning I read what the writer of Hebrews had to say and I have to think, so what if they don’t have anything to open from me on Christmas? It’s not like it will force them into therapy when they’re older. It won’t be the end of the world.
Of course gift-giving is part of Christmas fun, and I’m certainly not proposing we stop giving gifts. But in the hustle and bustle of the season, let’s not forget what we are celebrating. Let’s not lose our focus. Let’s not get caught up in the Xmas the world is celebrating, but stop and worship the Christ of Christmas.
The truly wonderful, amazing, life-changing Christmas story is Jesus. Merry Christmas, dear readers.