The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year. We decorate our homes, gather with friends and find ourselves singing Christmas carols anywhere and everywhere. There is more food, more fellowship and more joy. But what truly makes this time of year so great? Jesus of course. Most of us know that the true reason we celebrate Christmas today is because a special baby boy was born over 2,000 years ago to a young and weary couple in a lowly stable in Bethlehem.
This significant and long prophesied birth was accompanied with remarkable events. Shepherds were visited by a choir of angels (the most ever mentioned in the Bible) telling of the birth of the Savior and exactly where to find him. Wise men traveled from the Far East to come worship this Christ child and bring him gifts. I love this story with all of my heart and read it with my children every year, you can find it in Matthew chapters 1 and 2 and Luke chapter 2 (my favorite). However, it still does not provide an adequate reason for why this birth and Christmas is so very great.
Children are born every day and some into very unusual circumstances. This Nativity story doesn’t even set Christianity apart from other religions of the world. Muhammad and Buddha were also born into this world at certain points in history. There has to be more to our God to make him worthy of our dedication and celebration.
Praise God there is! What makes the beginning of Jesus’s life so wonderful is what happened at the end of his life. The Bible tells us that we can never go to Heaven to be with God if we are not sinless and perfect just like him. Sadly, all of us are wretched sinners (see Romans 3:23). In the Old Testament, according to the law given by God through Moses, the Israelites had to provide sacrifices to atone for their sins. This was an arduous and truly impossible task. Jesus came and changed everything.
Jesus was the Son of God; he lived a sinless, perfect life and performed many signs and miracles and taught those who followed him. The spiritually blind, religious rulers of the time hated Jesus and wanted him dead. They tried many times but were not able to arrest him until his true hour came, Jesus then gave himself over to them. He was questioned and found innocent by Pontius Pilot, yet to appease the rowdy Jewish people Pilot handed Jesus over to be beaten, tormented and finally crucified on the cross. Why did this have to happen? Because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22. Jesus gave himself up to be the ultimate and final perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins.
Yet again the story does not end there, Jesus rose from the dead three days later, just as he told his disciples he would. He was resurrected and is alive in Heaven with his Father God today; the tomb is empty. This is something no one else can claim. Muhammad and Buddha have graves their followers can visit, and they certainly didn’t sacrifice themselves for the people they claimed to love (one died of old age and another was supposedly poisoned).
Jesus Christ loved us so much that he came and redeemed us through his work on the cross. He did this so that we can also be resurrected from the dead and go to live with him someday. This is what makes Christmas so great and why we can celebrate this time of year with joy and passion. Jesus was a baby born to die for us.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9. This is straight from the Word of God. If you believe in him and have received his gift of redemption, you have all you need to celebrate this Christmas.