The Real Meaning of Christmas

When asked the best thing about Christmas, answers range from vacation time to hot chocolate to ugly Christmas sweaters! In fact, in a list of the twenty-five best things about Christmas, carols, music, and a “time of giving,” come the closest to the real reason for the season. But the words Jesus, Savior, and Immanuel are sadly absent from the list.

This means that we have a job to do! We must share the real meaning of Christmas with our friends and family and neighbors and co-workers.

LET’S TALK

Christmas means that…
#1 God desires a relationship with us!

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

The word Immanuel is found only four times in the Bible. To really appreciate the meaning of that term you need to understand the historical context when the prophet Isaiah spoke those words. It was almost 800 years prior to the birth of Christ. It was a time of great despair and darkness for the southern kingdom of Judah. Ahaz, was the reigning king and even though he didn’t follow God, God showed mercy on the nation. During that day, it was a promise that God would be there but it also became a rallying cry for a coming deliverer – a messiah. And that first Christmas, Jesus fulfilled that promise. He was Immanuel, God with us.  IMMANUEL – GOD WITH US! Imagine, the creator of the universe became a creation for us.

Christmas means that…
#2 We need a Savior!

Christ came to us to save us! The angel told Joseph that Mary “…will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21 (NIV)

The name Jesus was a very common name. The name is found throughout the history of the Mediterranean world. The Jewish historian Josephus, for example, names nineteen different men who bore the name Jesus. Isn’t it amazing that the God of the whole Universe, when he chose to take on appearance as a man would choose such a common name? Something like choosing John Doe!

But it is in this name we find a profound theological statement: It is God’s Promise to Save! In its older Hebrew form, the name literally meant “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh saves.” No other name offers what his name promises! That explains why the angel told Joseph to name the child Jesus “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The angel was telling Joseph that this child is God’s promise to save mankind from their sins! His name (very literally) is God’s promise to us of deliverance!

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” Luke 2:11-12 (NIV).

Christmas means that…
#3 Jesus wants be Lord of our Lives.

(The angel said to Mary) “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:32-33 (NIV)

Christmas means that Jesus came as one who would rule a kingdom. The angel said, “…He is Christ, the Lord.” Luke 2:11 (NCV)

When Jesus was on earth he said that the kingdom was within you – it begins in our hearts. We must bow our knee just like they did that first Christmas. God’s reign begins in your life.

BEFORE YOU GO

More than any other time, at Christmas, hearts are softened and ready to hear the good news of Jesus. I’m praying for the services at each of our churches this season. Merry Christmas!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Carl J Duhrkoop says:

    All so true, but what about one more. You touched on this Supt. Randy in your closing statement. Christmas means that…#4: We must go and tell the world. Luke. 17 “When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child…”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill Vermillion says:

    Beautifully done Randy especially about Yahweh saves. Amen!
    A super Christmas and a joyous New Year to you and your family as you celebrate the birth of Christ. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephen L. Blikstad says:

    Great blog! Simple and yet powerfully relevant to all of us to remember, celebrate and to share with others. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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