There is something about the Christmas season that stirs up my emotions. I find myself getting teary eyed over relatively insignificant things. Every time I hear “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” I get choked up. A beautiful light display can bring tears to my eyes. On Sunday, as we were singing some familiar Christmas songs, I had to stop several times to catch my breath and regain my composure. There is something very powerful about this season of the year.
Although having my emotions stirred up makes me uncomfortable, I am thankful for it as well. It demonstrates the power of the Christmas story to get behind our defenses and touch our heart. One of the big problems with Christmas is not the commercialism, but the familiarity. It is a story known around the world. People who have nothing to do with the church can tell you the Christmas story. Because this story is so familiar, it can lose its significance. For many people, the Christmas story is a nice fairy tale to tell to children, but not something to be taken seriously. The message of Christmas has been diluted to peace and love, with no mention of a need for a Savior.
The amazing thing about Christmas is that God won’t allow it to fade into the shadows. He continues to work around people’s defenses to reach callused hearts. Christmas makes people think. It catches them off guard at times. It stirs a long forgotten emotion within them. The truth about Jesus won’t go away.
Matthew and Luke give us the details of the story. They are the framework upon which Christmas hangs. But it is John who goes behind the story to give us the heart of God’s message to us. This was no ordinary baby born in a stable. This was the very Creator of the world, taking his place within His creation. This was no sight-seeing trip for God’s amusement. This was a spiritual invasion, with the purpose of recapturing the hearts of humanity. This is not a nice children’s story, but an escalation of the struggle between good and evil; between God and Satan.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-5
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:10-14
The central message of Christmas is not peace on earth. It is “unto you today, in the City of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.”