Keeping Christ’s Presence at the Center of Your Christmas

5 Mins read

The Christmas season is all about the birth of Christ. On the first Christmas night, the Virgin Mary gave birth miraculously to the Man who would change the course of human history for all eternity. Joseph, her supportive, loving husband who had chosen to stand by her side after the angel confirmed Mary’s story must have been standing in awe as his young bride brought the promised Messiah into the world.

While we know that this story is the true reason for the Christmas season, it’s easy to let the stress associated with getting everything ready for your Christmas celebrations cloud your vision.

The first Christmas night came and went without much fanfare. The angels appeared to the shepherds who were watching their flocks in the middle of the night, but outside of that, there was no grand announcement. Government leaders didn’t stop what they were doing to recognize the fact that the King of Kings had been born into the world. The people who were in Bethlehem to pay their taxes didn’t stop what they were doing to come and pay homage to the newborn Lord and Savior.

Unfortunately, many of our Christmas celebrations mirror the actions of the those who didn’t know about His birth on the first Christmas night. Child of God, it is imperative that we keep Christ’s arrival at the center of our Christmas celebrations.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with giving and receiving Christmas presents, it’s important that we take the time to reflect on the true Christmas presence. During the holiday season, spend some time reflecting on these verses and what they truly mean.

The Promised Savior
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The Old Testament timeline spans thousands of years. Beginning with the creation account in the Book of Genesis, the first promise of the coming Messiah was given following Adam and Eve’s sin. When they made the decision to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, God knew that the plan for humanity’s salvation needed to be set into motion. In that moment, He declared that a Savior, a Messiah would come that would offer humanity an opportunity to enter into a relationship with God.

Over the years, the expectations of the Jewish people became skewed. Due to their numerous captivities that are recorded in the Old Testament, many people believed the coming Messiah would come to the world to overthrow any governments that persecuted the Jewish nation. That’s why so many people missed it when Christ was born. While they were looking for a military leader who would lead the Jewish nation to victory, God chose to send His Son into the world through a virgin bride and her humble, carpenter husband.

Spend some time reflecting on the fact that Christmas is about the birth of the One who can save us from our sins. While many people believed a military leader was coming to save them from other nations, God chose to send a Savior who would save us from our greatest enemy, sin.

The Prince of Peace
Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finding peace during the holiday season can be difficult. For billions of people around the world, the season is a time of stress and borderline chaos. Travel arrangements, plans to host gatherings, shopping, cooking, and doing everything else can leave us feeling tired and ready for the Christmas season to be over.

However, Christ’s arrival into the world was a pivotal move in God’s plan to bring peace to His people. In Saint Luke’s account of the first Christmas night, he recorded a conversation between an angelic host and a group of shepherds who were watching their flocks by night. One of the first things that the angels said to the shepherds was that there was “peace on earth.”

We often associate the term “peace” with a complete absence of trouble. However, that’s not God’s definition of the word. Instead, God’s peace moves beyond human understanding, which means that we can experience God’s face not in the absence of trouble, but in the midst of trouble.

Christ came to the world so that we could know peace. The peace that God offers ensures us that even when it feels like everything is falling apart around us, He is holding everything together.

The Gift of Forgiveness
Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

God’s plan for the redemption of humanity was an intricate one. In Revelation 13:8, Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world.” Thousands of years before the first Christmas night, God set a plan into motion that would allow everyone, regardless of their nationality to experience salvation. While the Old Testament model of salvation was for the Jewish people, Christ’s birth extended forgiveness to everyone, regardless of their background.

When we are born, we are born with a need for forgiveness. While we do not comprehend sin as babies, we soon find ourselves faced with the ongoing battle between the flesh and the spirit. Had Christ never come to the world through Mary, there would have been no crucifixion, nor would there have been a resurrection. Without those events, we never would have known what it means to be forgiven by God.

When the Lord spoke to Isaiah about how He could take our “sins like scarlet” and make then “as white as snow,” He was speaking about the purification offered through His divine forgiveness. Christ’s birth made that possible.

The Gift of True Love
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Humans crave love. When you were a baby, you craved the love of a parent or guardian, as their love made sure that you were clean, fed, and nurtured. As we get older, we seek love from friends, romantic relationships, and through other means. Make no mistake about it, we need love.

The gift of Christ’s arrival on the first Christmas was the ultimate display of love. God knew exactly how the story would unfold. Since He is not limited by time nor space, He had already seen the end of the story. He knew about the pain of the coming crucifixion. He knew all about the triumph of the subsequent resurrection. Even with that knowledge, He chose to gift the world with the presence of His Son.

God had a Son, but He wanted a family. He wanted that family to include everyone who would believe in the Gift that He sent to the world. This Christmas season, embrace the gift of love that God put on display. Embrace it not only by loving God, but also by loving others.

A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to remain focused on what this time of year is all about. Thank You for the power of this season, and what Your gifts of salvation, peace, forgiveness, and love truly mean to me. In the face of the stress associated with this time of year, I choose to focus on You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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