God sending his only son – now isn’t that something to celebrate!
MAY I, first of all, wish every reader a very happy Christmas!
It is often remarked that Christmas has its roots in an ancient Roman, pagan festival, Saturnalia which was marked by all kinds of indulgent excesses. Secularists want to take it back!
Most Christians today think they already have, and some are sufficiently troubled that they wonder if they should ignore Christmas altogether! But at some point in the fourth century, the Church took the view that Christians should mark the birth of Christ on December 25 every year.
It was not because someone had worked out that this was the actual date of our Saviour’s birth. Nor was it because the Church had capitulated to the culture saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them!”
No, this was an intentional move to help ordinary Christians stand against the sins and excesses of the world.
The strategy was not simply to stand apart from the world and mutter on the sidelines, but to positively advance the good news of Jesus Christ in the gospel story, both for Christians and nonChristians.
So it became the habit of Christians to remember the great act of God in sending his Son into the world, conceived in a virgin’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit – “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” ( John 1: 14).
The Son, thus becoming fully human, while fully God in a mysterious union of two natures in one person, came as the Saviour we all need.
He alone was qualified to bear the sins of his people, the Lamb of God. And all of it out of love.
That is the beautiful truth Christians remember at Christmas time. Our joy is not simply in having some holiday fun. It is infinitely more than that.
It’s Immanuel – God with us – in Jesus Christ. Now, that’s something to shout about!