If you were to do a survey in your neighborhood using this question, very different answers would come out. So much has been added to the celebration for this festive season. But they have nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas. The real meaning is hidden in the word “Christmas” itself.
Most people love to celebrate Christmas. Many see Christmas as a wonderful celebration and look forward to it. Others ignore it because they believe the date is incorrect or even unbiblical.
Personally, I am thankful that God’s Word tells us about this special night. It is not a date on the calendar that we celebrate, but an awe-inspiring event, a work of God that we cannot even begin to fathom. This work of God is worthy of our praise and adoration, not just one day in December, but throughout the entire year.
Each one of us is reminded of our birth on a specific day each year. This day is usually acknowledged and even celebrated. Why, then, should it be wrong to celebrate the birth, the incarnation of the Son of God, which has such a special significance for all of us because Jesus is the Savior of the world?
While we do not read about the apostles or the first Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus, that does not negate this actual divine act of God! The Bible repeatedly speaks about consecration, “consecrating oneself” and “being ordained.” Altars, priests, and sanctuaries were consecrated, and men also consecrated themselves to the Lord. “Consecration” means anointing, blessing, devotion, and self-sacrifice for specific purposes.
This is exactly what Jesus Christ willingly did for us according to the will of the Father. He was willing as the Son of God to become man, and in recognition of this, we celebrate this holy night! That is the “godly mystery.” “God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). That is why there was the divine, sacred night.
God sent His Son as Savior and Redeemer of the world. John writes in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He came as a baby and was placed in a manger “because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). He was not only given but also sacrificed on the cross as an atonement for our sins. For this reason, the manger and the cross are closely related to each other. Through His death, we receive life; “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it produces much grain” (John 12: 24).
Jesus was flesh and blood so that He became equal to us in all things. He could not have come any closer to us. This is the “godly mystery” that we should worship reverently. When this event occurred, a bright star shone on Bethlehem. The heavenly hosts rejoiced, and the fearful shepherds were suddenly surrounded by the glory of the Lord.
The first message in that divine night was proclaimed by the angel of God: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:1-12). This child was born in poor and humble circumstances, but John testifies: “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14b). The devout Simeon, who some eight days later was allowed to hold this helpless child, exclaimed: “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples” (Luke 2:30-31). That could only be a look of faith.
When the centurion, standing under the cross of Jesus, saw the Son of God mocked, beaten, rejected, and dying on the cross, he exclaimed: “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54) He, too, had only gained this knowledge through faith. And so, too, must everyone find Jesus by faith and experience the salvation of his soul. Without faith, we cannot approach this godly mystery, let alone enter into it! Whoever wants to come to God and find Jesus must believe. The shepherds said, “‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:15-16). And that is also the path to the Savior for you, dear soul!
With Your glory, come, holy night,
Change our tired and weary plight!
Take us to the manger and star,
To the Christmas wonder afar!
Where hearts break in darkest night,
There bring faith and love so bright!
And where hearts cry out for peace,
Enter in, from sin release!