In many places around the world, people celebrate Christmas for various reasons. And the celebration is usually done with a lot of fanfare.
But beyond the fanfare with which it is celebrated, we must not lose sight of the fact that the essence of Christmas is Jesus Christ Himself. Without Jesus as the centre of focus, every celebration of Christmas is an empty celebration.
That brings us to the question:
Beyond the fanfare, what is Christmas about?
1. It is about the birth of a Saviour
Jesus was born to be the Saviour of the world. He was born with the grandest mission ever: To save us from our sins.
Before Jesus Christ was born to the earth, an Angel had said to Joseph about Mary, “She 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.
His name Jesus literally means Saviour. In other words, his name encapsulates His mission.
He was born the Messiah, “the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.”
But not just to His people alone, His saving grace extends to all mankind. “So that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life (John 3:15).
2. It is about the coming of divinity to earth.
One of the core doctrines in Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. When Jesus was born, He brought divinity to humanity.
Jesus is also called Immauel, meaning God with us. The second person of the Trinity stepped into time and be born on earth as a baby.
The incarnation is that event where the second person of the Trinity, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us – Matt Slick
And throughout His life on Earth, Jesus never suffered any identity crisis: He knew who He is: God in the flesh.
At one point in Jesus’ ministry, Philip, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus’ response to him was most unequivocal: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:8-9.
3. It is the birth of the soon-coming King
The birth of Jesus was His first coming to earth. His second coming is still a future event, but it is going to be a sure event.
His first birth by a virgin was foretold and it did happened as prophesied. There is no doubt in my mind that His second-coming which has also been prophesied, will sooner or later take place.
Why not under-estimating Christmas we should not lose sight of the fact that Jesus will come back again – not as a baby, but as a King.
At the ascension of Jesus, His disciples received an angelic assurance that the same way they saw their Master taken up in the clouds into Heaven is the same way He would come back to the earth.
“Men of Galilee,” said the two Angels who accosted the disciples, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1: 11.
4. It is the birth of the One who will judge the world
Guess who will be the Judge of the world? Jesus! That’s right, Jesus will be the one to judge the people of the world.
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son” – John 5:22.
Here is how the Bible further paints the picture of the judgement:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left – Matthew 25:31-33.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad – 2 Corrinthians 5:10.
When we celebrate Christmas, we should remember that we are not just celebrating the birth of an ordinary baby. We are celebrating the birth of our Saviour, God in the flesh, the soon-coming King and the future Judge of the world.
What do you say?