Here we are, once again, getting ready to celebrate Christmas. All over the world people are preparing for this magnificent celebration. Why? What is it that makes Christmas such an important occasion? Some focus on the “spirit of Christmas” as a time of year to celebrate being with family and friends, to give gifts to one another. For others, the focus is on extending “peace and goodwill toward men.” In some ways it is experienced slowing down from our busy schedules and having a somewhat extended time of rest, thinking happy thoughts, and wishing the same for those we come in contact with.
For Christians, of course, Christmas has a much deeper meaning. We understand that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus – our Savior. So Christmas is seen as a birthday celebration. We give gifts because God first gave us the gift of His Son. We wish each other peace and goodwill because that is what God gave us through the birth of Jesus. You may recall, from Luke 2:14, that the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
But maybe there’s more to it than that…
I had always thought of Christmas as being important as a precursor to the cross. I thought of God’s great sacrifice in terms of Jesus enduring the torment, the agony, the excruciating pain of the crucifixion. I thought of God’s great sacrifice for us in terms of Jesus taking on Himself all of the consequences of sin. (And I don’t want to minimize that at all. That God would sacrifice Himself on our behalf is beyond comprehension!) But maybe Christmas itself is a sacrifice far greater than we realize.
Have you considered the sacrifice involved in the incarnation? Think about this…
* The infinite God, creator of the universe, chose to confine Himself to the shape, size, and limitations of His creatures. He who is eternal and infinite, came to live in three dimensions. That’s sacrifice! And He did it willingly out of His love for us.
* The omniscient God, possessing all knowledge and understanding, chose to and live with the limitations of human understanding, aided only by the Holy Spirit for supernatural knowledge and insight. That’s sacrifice! And He did it willingly out of His love for us.
* The omnipotent God, for whom nothing is impossible, chose to live with the limitations of human ability, again, aided only by the Holy Spirit for supernatural power. That’s sacrifice! And He did it willingly out of His love for us.
* The omnipresent God, who is everywhere at once, chose to enter time and become like His creatures, living with the limitations of space and of time. That’s sacrifice! And He did it willingly out of His love for us.
Hebrews 2:17 says that “[Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect.” That is the BIG DEAL about Christmas – that God has forever committed Himself to the human cause.
Then, in Hebrews 4:15-16 we see that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Because God chose to become one with us, He knows what we go through. He knows our weaknesses. He knows our struggles. He is not putting the burden on us to come to Him – but He has done it all Himself.
That is why we can approach the throne of grace with confidence. That is why we can have peace. That is why there is goodwill toward men. And that is why we celebrate Christmas!
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2015