The Purpose of Christmas
It’s the largest celebration around the world each year. Other holidays get a single day, but Christmas is emphasised for an entire month, one twelfth of every year. During the Christmas season, billions of people set aside their normal routines to decorate their homes, send out greeting cards, buy gifts, go to Christmas parties, attend church services, sing Christmas songs, watch Christmas TV specials, and travel long distances to be with their families.
If you feel that Christmas has become nothing more than a source of emotional and financial stress…if somewhere along the line you lost ‘the reason for the season’…you need to read this article.
Why celebrate Christmas?
If you stop to think about it – it is astounding that the simple, unassuming birth of a peasant boy two thousand years ago in the Middle East has caused such commotion – His birthday even causes traffic jams today in places like New York City, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. For many people, getting ready for Christmas seems more of a hassle than a source of happiness; it is a source of stress. Perhaps you feel pressure, not pleasure. You may feel uneasy or lonely, or even depressed during the Christmas season. You may dread spending time with oddball relatives.
Regardless of your background, Christmas really is the best news you could get. Beneath all the visible sights and sounds of Christmas are some simple yet profound truths that can transform your life for the better here on earth and forever in eternity.
God’s Christmas gift to you has three qualities that make it unique. First, it is the most expensive gift you’ll ever receive. It’s priceless – Jesus paid for it with His life. Second, it’s the only gift you’ll ever receive that will last forever. Finally, it is an extremely practical gift – one you’ll use every day for the rest of your life.
Christmas is a time for celebration!
Christmas is a time for salvation!
Christmas is a time for reconciliation! “This is the day of the Lord’s victory: let us be happy, let us celebrate!” Psalm 118:24
Celebrate that God loves you!
The first purpose of Christmas is celebration! “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10. The entire reason for Christmas is the love of God. He didn’t send an angel or a prophet or a politician or an ambassador. He came Himself. You were created as an object of God’s love. He made you in order to love you! His love is the reason you’re alive and breathing.
Every time your heart beats and every time you take a breath, God is saying, “I love you”. You would not exist if God had not wanted you. Although there are accidental parents, there are no accidental babies.
One potential problem of our annual Christmas celebrations is that many people only think of Jesus as a baby. But the baby born in Bethlehem did not stay a baby. Jesus grew to manhood, modelled for us the kind of life that pleases God; taught us the truth, paid for every sin we commit by dying on a cross, then proved that He was God and could save us by coming back to life. This is the Good News!
Celebrate God is with you!
God came to earth at Christmas to remind you that He is always with you, no matter where you are. It’s no wonder the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid!” You lose your fear when God is near. God’s presence trumps our panic. You may have been abandoned in life – by a spouse, by your parents, by your children, or by the people you thought were friends. Everyone has faced the pain and heartache of being rejected in some way. “God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.’”
I don’t know where the heat is on in your life, but I do know that whatever it is, God knows about it, cares about it, understands it and is going through it with you.
Celebrate that God is for you
No one wants what’s best for you more than God. No one knows better what will make you truly happy! He wants you to run to Him, not from Him. In fact, 365 times in the Bible, God says, “Don’t be afraid!” That’s one “Fear not” for every day of the year! None of us knows what we’ll face this next year. So where does our fear of God come from? Primarily two sources: a guilty conscience and ignorance of what God is really like. Have you ever noticed that some people get extremely nervous anytime anyone mentions God or Jesus in a conversation? I’ve seen people have an instant visceral reaction at the mention of Jesus. Jesus came to save us, not to scare us! It’s a reason to celebrate.
In our family we have a birthday party for Jesus every Christmas Eve – It is a five-decade Warren family tradition. Each family member takes a turn sharing his or her answers to two personal questions: “What, from this past year, are you thankful to God for?” and, “Since it’s Jesus’ birthday, what gift will you give Him this next year?” These two simple questions have prompted some of the most profound and moving moments in our family’s history.
Because of today’s pace of life, we quickly forget all the good things God does for us, and we move on to the next challenge. That’s why I recommend that you establish an annual celebration.
Jesus came to save you from sin and yourself
The second purpose of Christmas is salvation! “Today… there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11. Even when other people cause you problems, your natural response often makes them worse. You trip yourself up far more often than you realise or would like to admit. God never intended for you to go through life on your own power. He wants you to trust Him and depend on Him. That’s why He allows problems in your life that you have no possible chance of solving on your own. So spread the Good News of the purpose of Christmas this December