Enjoying the Journey
We are only days away from the biggest birthday celebration in the world! No birthday on earth has more celebration or more misunderstanding. A recent Pew survey suggests that half of Americans will not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday this year. For more and more people Christmas is becoming a cultural holiday. “Happy holidays,” they say. Ironic since the word holiday comes from holy day. Without the holy there is no true happiness. The world wants to celebrate His birthday without using His name.
There has been a good deal of debate over the actual birth day of the Christ child. It is interesting to note that Alfred Edersheim, the famous Jewish researcher and author, suggests that December 25 is actually a reasonable date for the birth of Christ. (See The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, page 187). Regardless, Christ was born, and His birth is to be celebrated with meaning.
Throughout the year we celebrate plenty of birthdays. The birthdays of family members and friends. The birthdays of coworkers and associates. The calendar even remembers the birthdays of great men like presidents and political leaders.
When we celebrate birthdays very little is ever said about the person’s infancy or the circumstances surrounding their birth. Birthdays are times to celebrate the accomplishments of an individual’s life. Their present. Their future.
Yet when we celebrate the birthday of our Lord Jesus almost all of the attention is given to the baby. There is both a truth to ponder and a lesson to learn from this fact.
1. Christ’s birthday is different from any other.
Rightly so. His birth was a virgin birth. The delivery was accompanied by angelic announcement and worship from both heaven and earth. We can emphasize the birth of Christ because we are celebrating WHO He is, not just WHAT He did. If Christ had never performed a single miracle, He would still have been God. He is the miracle: God robed in flesh without ceasing to be God.
2. Christ’s birthday is only part of the story.
Like any other birthday celebration, we must not stop at infancy. Get beyond the manger. Christ’s birthday is eternally connected to His death day. He came to die. For me. For you. He came to rise again from the dead. He came to seek and save sinners.
The celebration of Christ’s birth should remind us of His present and His future. He is seated at the right hand of His Father praying for us at this moment. He is preparing Heaven for those who will believe on Him. He is coming again.
This time of year is very reflective for most people. In your reflections on Christ, remember that Christmas is not just about an event in the past. It is about who He is and who He will always be.
“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).