This year was my first Christmas season working in the healthcare field. In and out of various hospitals, I come in contact with a variety of patients in a variety of conditions. One thing I noticed this year, was how prevalent the spirit of joy is around this time of year. Even with people who are in fatal stages of disease and sickness to those who are going to a simple, routine appointment, you would be amazed at how much their voices and faces light up when you wish them a Merry Christmas. There is something magical about this time of year, or is there?
This made me reflect about the true meaning of Christmas. Sure, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But in all our celebration and joyous spirit that fills the atmosphere of the holidays and the smiles of the strangers we come across, do we remember the true reason of Christmas?
The true meaning of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ so that He would die for us. Christ was born to die. Christ had to take on the form of flesh for the simple reason of dying. This is because you can’t kill God, you can’t kill the Spirit, and you can’t kill Jesus, unless He is born into a nature that can die. And He was, he was born into our carnal nature so that He could be a sin offering for us, restoring us to a relationship with God.
Perhaps this is the reason that brings joy to so many people, almost ‘magically.’ It is the season of giving, of celebrating the most precious gift this world has ever and could have ever been given: The life of Jesus Christ. Do you think that is why the spirit of joy is so prevalent? Do you think celebrating God’s perfect gift of His only begotten son this time of year, brings joy even to those who don’t believe in Him? How could it not? How could those who don’t believe in God still not recognize the spirit of joy that surrounds Christmas?
What a precious gift to celebrate: The gift of Jesus Christ. The gift of perfection, of holiness. The gift of righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV): God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Christmas is a time to celebrate God’s gift to us of His son, who was able to exchange His righteousness for our sins, that we would be able to live in perfect relationship with God. This is the perfect atonement, the propitiation of our sins.
Romans 5:11 (KJV): And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
The Greek word for atonement is “katallagē” (καταλλαγή), and literally means “to exchange.” Christ literally became our sin and exchanged them for His righteousness. And the only thing that we have to do to receive it, is to believe (John 3:16). Just believe and you will have a relationship with God. To me, that is the joy of Christmas. This is why there is such a spirit of joy in the atmosphere, that even those who do not know Jesus can experience it.
What a beautiful gift, the gift of grace. This is why Jesus is my favorite present to open, God’s gift of grace, of love, of peace, of empowerment, of healing, of joy…I could go on. This is the reason for the season and why it seems so ‘magical’ as if it is too good to be true. The birth of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for you. This is the perfect gift of pure love, and the reason we celebrate.