What first comes to mind when you think of Christmas?
Carols, lights, trees, decorations, Santa, gifts, family, eggnog, hot chocolate, snow.
How far down the list do you get before you think of Christ’s birth?
For most of my life, the coming of our Savior was buried somewhere in the middle of the list. It was definitely on there, but there were other things I associated with the Christmas season first.
Several years ago, I recognized that Jesus’ coming wasn’t as central to my Christmas experience as it should have been. Each year since, I’ve tried to be intentional to choose an Advent devotional and walk through it leading up to Christmas. This has shifted my outlook on Christmas, and I highly recommend everyone read an Advent devotional during the month of December.
Reason for the season
I don’t think Christians have missed the reason for Christmas. I think we are all aware that Christmas is the time we celebrate Jesus’ birth. We have Christmas pageants, sing Christmas hymns, display nativities, and attend Christmas Eve services.
But do we really grasp the importance of Advent? Do we understand what the incarnation of Christ tells us about God? Do we understand what the first coming of our Savior means for us? Do we let those truths shape the way we approach the season?
It tells us of God’s incomprehensible and unlimited love for us. Jesus, the King of the world, left the riches of His throne to be poor on the earth. He left the glory of heaven to live a human life of suffering and rejection. And He did it for you.
It means that through Jesus, we now have fellowship with the Almighty God of the universe.
We’ve all experienced the power of Easter, of Christ’s death and resurrection. But there would be no Easter without Advent. If our all-sufficient Creator hadn’t come as a baby in a manger, there would be no sacrificial Lamb dying on the cross once for all.
So I just want to remind and encourage you. Don’t lose sight of the majesty of the incarnation this Christmas. Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, make sure you stay focused on Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises, our King in a stable, our Savior born as the heaven’s sang.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:6–7).