To some, Christmas means only a time of warm celebration with friends and family, gift-giving, and festive holiday traditions.
To others, Christmas means the celebration of something eternally significant—the Savior’s birth. “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But there’s so much more to Christmas than celebration . . .
Read four important things Christmas means in this excerpt from A Light Has Dawned: Meditations on Advent & Christmas.
What Christmas means in concrete human terms is as plain as the manger, the shepherds, the angels, and the cross.
It means, first of all, that we must walk in full recognition of God’s overall triumphant plan and will. He who planned the ages and even submitted unto that plan himself has a plan for this age too. We should not chafe to do his will, but delight in it, as Mary or the angels at that first Christmas. The way to sure defeat lies in the substitution of our proud wills for the will of God himself. Let us follow the example of all of those who saw God’s will and did it.
Second, Christmas means we are called to look on human life as sanctified and of great worth to God. God did not despise the flesh he made, nor must we. Nor are we to value our own flesh above that of others. God came into flesh, not our flesh alone. God cares for every human soul, born and yet unborn. Our care should extend to every human soul—the weak, the sick, the suffering, and the defenseless. Because God cared enough about human life to become a part of it, we cannot despise part of it, lest we be despising God himself.
Third, Christmas calls us to accept a life of vulnerability and simplicity in the face of God’s acceptance of our weak estate. He set the pattern for us. We cannot strive for power or wealth at the expense of someone else. We must follow Christ upon the road from heaven to earth to cross, and leave the rest to God. The whole world is not worth our soul, and Christmas says, behold the one who, though he was rich, became poor for our sakes. So must we also live.
Fourth, Christmas calls us to make the love of God real in humble, loving service. Just as God stooped down, so must we stoop. This should not be misunderstood: it was not weakness in God that sent him down to earth, but rather strength. He voluntarily laid aside the glory. So, too, it is not weakness to walk in humble submission to God’s will in willing service to others, no matter what the world thinks. It is a triumph and a victory in our lives when we walk in humility, after the pattern of the Ultimate Good come down.
The turning point of history was Christmas; may it be the turning point in our lives this year.1
- Walter A. Elwell for Christianity Today, “When God Came Down” in A Light Has Dawned: Meditations on Advent & Christmas (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), 185–186.