But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord…You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.(Luke 2: 9-12)
This year is my 63rd Christmas on this earth. As I have gotten older and my faith has matured I have learned to enjoy Christmas for what it truly is – the birth of our Savior. Family is important and it is wonderful to take time out of our busy schedules to be together, but for many years of my adult life, I did not take the time to really reflect on the true reason we celebrate at Christmas time. I have always known what the true meaning of Christmas is. I have always known it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, but I let all the hustle and bustle, the gift giving and family time overshadow it.
When our children were small it was so exciting to decorate the tree and bake cookies. It was fun to find that perfect gift for each of them and look forward to the joy and excitement in their eyes as they opened it on Christmas morning.
Now that our children are all grown and have children of their own, I can focus on what Christmas is really about. There is still family time and gift giving, but there is much more time to focus on what the birth of Jesus truly means. Jesus is now on the front burner of my life at Christmas time rather than the back burner.
This year (2013) I debated whether or not I even wanted to set up a tree. I love the beauty of the Christmas tree, but I when thought of how difficult it would be for
me to haul everything up from the basement, I questioned whether it was worth it. In the end I realized that the Christmas tree is an important part of the celebration. It is a birthday after all, and not just any birthday. It is Jesus’ birthday! Oh, Jesus doesn’t demand that we celebrate his birthday, but we honor him by doing so and the tree is important because it represents an important part of the true meaning of Christmas.
Do you know what the Christmas tree symbolizes? The evergreen tree which does not change with the seasons, but remains green and lush all year round reminds us of our never changing God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13: 8). His love for us never changes. His rules for living never change and most important, his promises never change.
The lights on the Christmas tree remind us that Jesus is the light of the world and that we need to shine that light of life out into a world darkened by sin and death. The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned (Matthew 4: 16). The light referred to here is not physical light. It is a spiritual light.
All humans are born into this world spiritually dead. The darkness of sin leads to death – eternal death. Jesus came into the world to save us from eternal death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
When you light your tree this holiday season, remember the wonderful gift that Jesus gave you through his birth, his perfect life, and his suffering, death and resurrection. Through faith in Jesus we have the light of life – eternal life. Our life here on earth is just a stepping stone. We need not fear death. It will only be the gateway into heaven.
May we never hesitate to be followers of Jesus. And as we follow him, he will make us leaders. Our life and faith will be examples to those who are living in darkness. We will light their path and lead them to the cross where they will find forgiveness, light and life – eternal life.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created (James 1: 17, 18).