What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Be honest. I wonder if we, the believers and followers of Jesus Christ, have paid enough attention to and tried to understand the birth of Jesus Christ, putting the event in its right context.
I believe that the way Christ’s birth is being celebrated is an example of a terrible misunderstanding of the purpose of Christ’s coming to this world. The birth, life, death and resurrection of the Son of God have been reduced to two holidays. By highlighting two “snapshots” from His entire life, we have ended up with a distorted and misunderstood picture of Jesus and His Mission.
The first snapshot is one of a beautiful little baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger with a halo over His head. There are hundreds of variations of this snapshot depending on who the artist is. This picture is the centre of Christmas or “Xmas” and it is celebrated throughout December, until the 25th.
The second picture is one of a man nailed or tied to a cross between two others. This is called Easter and it comes complete with all kinds of celebrations and trappings.
However, these two events, when taken out of context, obscure and distort God and His mission for mankind. For the beauty of Christmas is not the little child in the manger with a bright halo over his head. Rather, it is the love of God, who loved us to the point of coming to this world in the person of Jesus to save mankind, which we must be thankful for.
His glory was not found in a halo but, rather, all around Him. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1) I believe, though, that only those whose spiritual eyes have been opened can see the glory and majesty of God (Acts 7:55).
The first people to be informed of this unique birth were not the religious leaders in Jerusalem but shepherds on the Judean hillside. These were humble men who were faithful and ready to hear God’s message.
No matter how ordinary or humble your place of work and duty may be, it is your place of vision if you keep your eyes open and your ears tuned to God’s glory.
Christmas, without a deeper understanding of Christ and His love toward us, is just a religious festival with no real meaning. What we should be celebrating is God’s visit to our planet in the person of Jesus Christ. He began in a manger and ended on the cross and, along the way, had no where to lay His head.
The shepherds had seen the glory of the Lord. They had met their “Christ,” the Messiah. They would never be
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian