The Most Important Reason to Celebrate Christmas
My wife and I visited Germany at Christmas time several years ago and had a wonderful time! It was a chilly but delightful time spent with our two daughters. Our youngest daughter and her family lived in Germany for three years while her husband was stationed there.
We went to several Christmas markets in several towns in southwest Germany. I was impressed with how the German people embraced and celebrated the Christmas season (Weihnachten). It was very different from our experience celebrating many Christmas seasons in the Philippines or in our home culture of America.
Over the past several years, many people won’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore because it might offend someone. I didn’t see that in Germany. In fact, quite the opposite.
How do you celebrate Christmas?
Perhaps a better question is—Why do you celebrate Christmas?
What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Shopping or traditions or Santa or something else? For me, it’s Jesus.
You may have heard the expression, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” Indeed, He is, but we’re celebrating much more than a sentimental story of a child born in a manger!
We ought to be celebrating who He is and why He—Jesus—was born! That is—if we want to celebrate Christmas as God desires for us to celebrate it.
Jesus—the Messenger of God
I haven’t come from heaven to do what I want to do. I’ve come to do what the one who sent me wants me to do.
John 6:38 GW
Messengers, mediators, and servants can play valuable roles, except when things don’t work out well. Then, even those who’ve done well before can pay a heavy price.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “Don’t shoot the messenger!” This is played out in many ways.
A person asks a counselor or doctor to “tell me the truth,” but reacts with anger when it’s told. A politician who tells the truth has a short political life, compared to a politician who adjusts his message according to opinion polls. Sad, but true.
Being a mediator is no easy role. When negotiations break down, the mediator is blamed, not the unyielding parties at odds with one another.
Servants have varied roles, from butlers and maids to indentured servants and serfs from the days of feudal lords. They serve in various ways and are relied upon for many things, even as nursemaids for babies, yet often treated with scorn and blamed for their “lords” problems.
Jesus fulfilled all three of these roles—as a messenger, mediator, and servant—and yet continues to be scorned and misunderstood by many.
Jesus—the Message of God
Not only was Jesus the personal messenger of His Father (God), He was the Message Himself—the Word—God in person.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth.
John 1:1, 14 GW
He was the mediator of a new covenant relationship between God and man based on God’s kindness and righteousness. His title, Christ or Messiah, declared His importance to God and all humanity.
Israel, God’s chosen people, waited for their messiah for centuries. Yet when He came, God’s people would not recognize or receive Him. They rejected Him because Jesus wasn’t the Messiah expected or wanted, and they didn’t want to hear His message (John 1:9-11).
They did not understand who He was. He came as God in human form. He was more than a representative sent by God. Jesus came as the very message of God’s mercy and justice.
Jesus—the Servant of God
Though Jesus is God in nature and came as God in human form, He was a servant. He told His followers that He came to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28). Jesus was humble in nature though He is the Creator of all.
His first priority was to do the will of His Father, the One who sent Him. His greatest service was to lay His life down for all humanity upon the cross and to raise it up again.
How can the world He created scorn this faithful servant, mediator, and messenger?
More importantly, how do we scorn Him? When we choose our own will over His, we scorn Him. We turn our backs on the One who gave us life and became a bridge back to the Father. One who speaks words of truth and life.
So, don’t shoot the Messenger! Hear Him, love Him, serve Him! That’s the best and truest way to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Ambassador, author of several books, and one member of the pastoral team of Poimen Ministries. This article was republished in part with permission.